Who is he?
English screenwriter and filmmaker who has directed over 30 television films and 25 feature films since the mid-Sixties. Loach and his films have been marked by a number of controversies, thanks to their strong political rhetoric. He is the only director to have won the Jury Prize three times at Cannes Film Festival, where he also won the Golden Palm in 2006 for the Irish war drama The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006).
Why is he of interest?
Loach’s cinema, along with other works of Kitchen Sink Realism, turned their attention away from the bourgeois films that were representative of British cinema and their stories involving sanitised lives of the London elite. Drawing inspiration from Italian Neorealism, these social realist films ventured into the heartlands of England, portraying real people facing real problems and giving voice to their protests and struggles.
Where to discover him?
Kes (1969), perhaps the most widely known of all Loach’s films, revolves around a teenager, Billy, who lives in a community of coal miners and his pet falcon. Billy hopes to avoid a bleak future with the help of the bird, but finds it increasingly difficult to transcend the bitter realities of familial dysfunction, bullying and gambling. Kes is heartbreaking, but it also makes us reflect on critical issues without diluting them with sentimentality.