Ken Loach Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (16)  | Personal Quotes (21)

Overview (2)

Born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, UK
Birth NameKenneth Loach

Mini Bio (1)

Unlike virtually all his contemporaries, Ken Loach has never succumbed to the siren call of Hollywood, and it's virtually impossible to imagine his particular brand of British socialist realism translating well to that context.

After studying law at St. Peter's College, Oxford, he branched out into the theater, performing with a touring repertory company. This led to television, where in alliance with producer Tony Garnett he produced a series of docudramas, most notably the devastating "Cathy Come Home" episode of The Wednesday Play (1964), whose impact was so massive that it led directly to a change in the homeless laws.

He made his feature debut Poor Cow (1967) the following year, and with Kes (1969), he produced what is now acclaimed as one of the finest films ever made in Britain. However, the following two decades saw his career in the doldrums with his films poorly distributed (despite the obvious quality of work such as The Gamekeeper (1968) and Looks and Smiles (1981)) and his TV work in some cases never broadcast (most notoriously, his documentaries on the 1984 miners' strike).

He made a spectacular comeback in the 1990s, with a series of award-winning films firmly establishing him in the pantheon of great European directors - his films have always been more popular in mainland Europe than in his native country or the US (where Riff-Raff (1991) was shown with subtitles because of the wide range of dialects). Hidden Agenda (1990) won the Special Jury Prize at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival; Riff-Raff (1991) won the Felix award for Best European Film of 1992; Raining Stones (1993) won the Cannes Special Jury Prize for 1993, and Land and Freedom (1995) won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize and the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival - and was a substantial box-office hit in Spain where it sparked intense debate about its subject matter. This needless to say, was one of the reasons that Loach made the film!

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Family (2)

Spouse Lesley Ashton (17 July 1962 - present)  (5 children)
Children Stephen Loach
Loach, Nicholas
Hannah Loach
Jim Loach
Emma Loach

Trade Mark (4)

Naturalistic, social realist directing style
Improvisation, to create a genuine interplay between actors
In many of his films a three legged dog is seen.
Films often focus on the british working class

Trivia (16)

He has five children: Stephen Loach (born 1963), Nicholas (born 1965, died 1971 in a road accident), Hannah Loach (born 1967), director Jim Loach (born 1969), and documentary filmmaker Emma Loach (born 1972).
His biography is in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 593-597. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
He was a law student at Oxford.
He declined the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to film in 1977.
He has supported Olivier Besancenot's 2007 French presidential campaign.
He was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film and television culture.
He is a loyal supporter of Bath City FC.
At an anniversary screening of The Wednesday Play: Cathy Come Home (1966) in 2002, Loach spoke of how the play had become an important part in making the debate on homelessness public. At the same event his producer, Tony Garnett, pointed out that the number of homeless in Britain had more than doubled "...but Ken [Loach] and I now live in much more expensive houses.".
He condemned the detention of Jafar Panahi, arrested on 1 March 2010 along with Mohammad Rasoulof and Mehdi Pourmoussa. "It is a very shocking development and further demonstration of the intolerance of the regime. I hope all people working in films will call for his release, and speak out in solidarity for him and all Iranian filmmakers working under similar conditions. It is completely unacceptable." Pourmoussa and Rasoulof were released from the Evin prison on 17 March 2010, but Panahi remains in ward 209.
In the series "The Film That Changed My Life" (Observer newspaper UK/May 2010), Loach cited Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves (1948) (Bicycle Thieves) as the movie that most inspired him to pursue a career in filmmaking.
He was interviewed in "World Directors in Dialogue" by Bert Cardullo (Scarecrow Press, 2011).
He paid part of the $150,000 needed for Julian Assange's bail.
As of 2016, he has a record of 13 films in the official competition of the Cannes Film Festival.
Twice winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006) and I, Daniel Blake (2016). The other directors to have won the Palme twice are: Bille August, Emir Kusturica, Shôhei Imamura, Michael Haneke, Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne, Alf Sjöberg, Ruben Östlund and Francis Ford Coppola.
He became a member of the 'Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' (AMPAS) in 2016.
In January 2019, mathematician and television personality Rachel Riley accused Loach on Twitter of promoting antisemitism.

Personal Quotes (21)

I turned down the OBE because it's not a club you want to join when you look at the villains who've got it. It's all the things I think are despicable: patronage, deferring to the monarchy and the name of the British Empire, which is a monument of exploitation and conquest.
Stalin has caused Socialism greater damage than anyone else.
Why do they say I hate my country? And what does that even mean? Am I supposed to hate my town, am I supposed to hate all English people, or my government? And if I do hate my government, does that mean I hate my country? It's a democratic duty to criticize the government.
A movie isn't a political movement, a party or even an article. It's just a film. At best it can add its voice to public outrage.
I think our TV news editors are still sometimes using the language of government propaganda. We still hear the term 'war on terror' for an illegal war. We're still hearing the words reform and modernization when what we really mean is privatization and public greed.
In '45 we had probably the best reforming government we've had, in the Attlee (Clement Attlee) government. It was still a social democrat government, it wasn't a socialist government, but the consciousness of people was that we were a collective and we were stronger together than as individuals. And obviously out of that came the health service and public ownership of utilities and transport and a sense of collective endeavour. People had made that sacrifice to win the war, so there was a general sense that things would get better from there. The consciousness was: we've achieved things and we have things that will never be taken away from us, like the health service, like public ownership of the mines, of the transport, of the gas, electric - it was ours. And now, that's gone, we've just given it away... Allowed politicians to give it to their friends. And the cult of the individual, from '79 onwards, which New Labour has followed and which dominated the party, has just killed that. So the consciousness now is not: "How can we work together?" It's: "How can I get on, at the expense of you?" So that's pretty horrible.
[on his film Jimmy's Hall (2014)] We not only shot on film, we cut on film. It's very good because it's not as quick as digital cutting, so you consider what you do more carefully. It's a much more human way of working. The film industry is like any other - it's about speed and cutting the people doing the job. We're going to carry on, cutting on film.
If films were to have a big influence, it would probably be very negative because they would probably endorse great wealth. They would endorse America as the home of peace and democracy and the defender of freedom.
Traditionally when young people were growing up, they were introduced into the adult world through work. They don't have that now. I think it's surprising [rioting] hasn't happened before.
Britishness was about empire, Britishness was about slavery, oppression, hence the Butcher's Apron. Britishness has a long legacy which we want to disown.
[on De Sica's Bicycle Thieves (1948) and the influence of Italian Neorealism] Those were a group of films we absorbed when we were young. and have stayed as a benchmark. You have it in the back of your mind but nothing more than that.
[on his threat to retire after Jimmy's Hall (2014)] It was at the moment of maximum pressure, just before we started to shoot. And I just said "I can't do this any more". I was away quite a long time on this one, and it was a large undertaking - a period film with a big cast. I was reaching the point where I just wasn't sure that I could carry it off any more. But that was at the start of production. Of course, by the time you get to the end you feel rather less daunted by it.
What I've always tried to do is just to capture the truth of the moment. Preparation is really important for actors; they need to know who they are, where they're from, and the experiences up to the point that we make the film. We use improvisations, research, and so on. But when there's a surprise, that's the hardest thing to act. Even with brilliant actors, you'll get it once but the second time it's more difficult. For example, in Jimmy's Hall (2014), there's a scene where there's a group of women singing a song, and the Free State army bursts in. Well, obviously we didn't tell them they were going to burst in. So that shock is real. And it's very interesting; one woman registers it with a little involuntary jump, but she doesn't turn round to look immediately. Well, by the second take of course people know it's coming, so you don't get that.
[on the 2017 British election results with unexpected gains for Labour] It is about the depths of poverty and the use of hunger by the government as a weapon. People are revolted by that. They are revolted by the Tories' politics and [British prime minister] Theresa May's manner reinforced that lack of empathy. She doesn't have normal conversations. She speaks in a robotic manner. She doesn't seem to understand what people are saying to her. The more she says, the bigger the hole she digs for herself. I hope she keeps talking. [June 2017]
Radiohead are important to a lot of people around the world, not just because they are accomplished and very distinguished musicians, but also because they are perceived to be a progressive political band. None of us want to see them make the mistake of appearing to endorse or cover up Israeli oppression. If they go to Tel Aviv, they may never live it down. I don't know who is advising Radiohead, but their stubborn refusal to engage with the many critics of their ill-advised concert in Tel Aviv suggests to me that they only want to hear one side - the one that supports apartheid.
[2014 interview] I've had a very easy film-making journey. Hollywood is a deeply unattractive place; why go and swim in a sea with sharks if you can bathe somewhere else? And the work that comes out compared with the talent that goes in is not great. When you look at the European directors who have gone there, their work is always, to my mind, invariably better in Europe. Look at Milos Forman, whose Czech films were inspirational for us. I only feel able to say that I don't care for his Hollywood films so much because I like his early films so much.
A broad church doesn't work when the choir is trying to stab the vicar in the back.
[on the current trend for 'Superhero' films, 2019] I find them boring. They're made as commodities ... like hamburgers ... It's about making a commodity which will make profit for a big corporation - they're a cynical exercise. They're a market exercise and it has nothing to do with the art of cinema.
[on being asked if he will ever retire, 2019] I don't know. It just seems a silly, arbitrary thing to say. I mean, you stay engaged with the world. You don't go into a cave and not know what's going on. I want to know [what] the score is on Saturday. I want to see what's in the newspapers. I want to be part of the world, not somehow locked away. If the medium you express yourself in is sound and picture and image and character and drama, then obviously that stays in your mind. So why would you walk away? It doesn't make sense to me. We're citizens first, aren't we, before we're anything? There's no way I'd stop. Keep turning to the sports page to see what the score was last night. You know? You stay in the world.
[on being asked if he had a favourite of his own films, 2019] No. I'm afraid it's always the same answer. The films are like your children. You can't have a favourite son. And what you remember is the people you worked with, and they've all been extraordinary over the years. So, no, you couldn't have a favourite; it'd be unfair on the others. But you cherish them all in different ways, even... well, particularly, the ones that didn't work out so well. Always the way.
[press conference for Sorry We Missed You (2019) at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival] When I was young, and for many years after, you were told if you had a skill, if you had a craft, you would find a job for life and you could bring up a family on the wage. And the inexorable change from that security - the insecurity where people can be hired and fired at a day's notice, where people are on contracts where the employer makes no commitment to how much work they will get or how much they will earn. Working through agencies - again no security - or as Kris [Kris Hitchen] is in the film, being so-called "self-employed", where the worker takes all the risk and the employer is in the fortunate position - he takes no risk and the worker has to exploit himself or herself. So it's the perfect situation for the big companies; no risk and the worker has to run himself into the ground, without being told to - no strict boss to crack the whip - and that's the inexorable change that's happened. And it's not capitalism failing; it's capitalism working, as it always will. So we talked about this and Paul [Paul Laverty] first mentioned the idea of how that would refract into family relationships, how that determines the choices families have, and determines their relationships. So we talked about it a lot and we went to meet people and Paul did most of the research at this point, and then sketched the main characters, and then we talked again and so it developed.

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