A 59 year old carpenter recovering from a heart attack befriends a single mother and her two kids as they navigate their way through the impersonal, Kafkaesque benefits system. With equal amounts of humor, warmth and despair, the journey is heartfelt and emotional until the end.
All the women who work for the public agencies have the same haircut: bangs with a mid length straight bob. See more »
Security Guards in all Job Centres are provided by G4S, but the security guards shown here do not wear G4S uniforms. See more »
Was I a soldier? Oh, more dangerous than that. I was a carpenter.
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A very special thanks to workers within the DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] and PCS [Public and Commercial Services] Union who provided us with invaluable information but who must remain anonymous. [Government edict that public employees in these departments cannot speak publicly about their work.] See more »
Composed by Ronald Binge
Performed by The Alan Perry/William Gardner Orchestra as The Perry/Gardner Orchestra
Conducted by Ronald Binge
Licensed courtesy of Mozart Edition (Great Britain) Ltd. See more »
We all hate it when we are treated according to a standardised procedure, with no discretion shown for our particular circumstances. Perhaps it's inevitable that a benefits system is impersonal; but perhaps it's rather a feature by design, to strip applicants of their dignity, either to deter scroungers or simply to drive down the bill by making it humiliating, and difficult, to get what you really need. In the U.K., it has for a long time been widely suspected that some people claim invalidity benefits when actually fit to work; but attempts to prevent this have led to cries of outrage that the sick are sometimes basically left to fend for themselves, forced to seek jobs they are not fit to take. Ken Loach's film 'I, Daniel Blake', is fictional, but it's grounded in many credible accounts of how the system works.
The film itself is minimalistic, without any soundtrack; it's low key, showing us the everyday reality of Daniel's life. But it makes one angry watching it, because one can easily believe that for many people, this is exactly how the system presents itself. You couldn't call the film fun to watch, but it's important: every time you hear politicians lambast scroungers, you need to consider what the counter measures mean for those without a support network. Sadly, this is a must see movie.
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