For those of us who might have been disappointed by some of the most recent Loach movies (Land and Freedom, Carla's song...), "The flickering flame", a TV documentary, shows Loach at his most powerful. The film documents the recent Liverpool docker's strike, where many workers lost their jobs for refusing to go against their own beliefs by crossing a picket line. The film is a great example of a successful political documentary. Loach manages to put across many political points without once being overly demonstrative or heavy. On the contrary, issues such as the betrayal of the workers by their bureaucratic union bosses are plainly and forcefully shown.
As well as being a great political film, publicizing the struggle of the Liverpool dockers, "The flickering flame" can be seen as a comment on the condition of the working-class in Britain, or even throughout "liberal" Europe. The film shows British society's shift to the right and documents the taking away of rights that had been bitterly fought for in the past. Above all, the film shows the dignity of the Liverpool dockers and of their wives. It's a deeply human film that shows how workers who had given their lives to their jobs were unfairly dismissed simply for sticking to their beliefs. One of the best "militant" films of all time.
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