Top 10 Favorite Ken Loach Movies of All Time
“Maybe if we tell the truth about the past, we can tell the truth about the present” – Ken Loach
A pioneer of British social realism, Ken Loach is a director known for his provocative cinematic methods and his austere attitude to contemporary issues. Beginning as a director for BBC television in the 1960s, the director’s 10 contributions to the BBC Wednesday game anthology series would quickly establish its name in the industry. With docudramas including Up to the junction, In two minds, and famous Cathy comes home, which aroused public outrage and played a role in the creation of the charities for the homeless “Crisis” and “Shelter”.
Representing oppressed working-class people, Loach continues to be and has been a social activist for much of his career, believing that the current benefit system, explored as part of the Palme d’Or Me, Daniel Blake is “a Kafka and deadlocked situation designed to frustrate and humiliate the applicant to such an extent that he abandons the system and ceases to assert his right to seek help if necessary.”
Often drawing on actors unknown to the exact social demographics he tries to portray, Loach strives to be realistic in every way, incorporating local dialects into his films despite the pronunciation barrier across the globe. Loach supported this in an interview, commenting, “If you ask people to speak differently, you lose more than your voice. Everything about them changes.
“If I asked you not to speak with an American accent, your whole personality would change. This is how you are. My hunch is that it’s better to use subtitles than not, even if that limits movies to an arthouse circuit.
With his films acting as a source of inspiration for filmmakers around the world, from Shane Meadows to Sean Baker, let’s take a look at Ken Loach’s top 10 favorite movies…
Ken Loach’s 10 Favorite Movies of All Time:
A piece of soufflé (Jean-Luc Godard, 1959)
In A piece of soufflé (or Breathless) two titans of French cinema, Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, collided, the latter providing the original story of Godard’s classic New Wave feature film.
Regarding a petty thief who tries to convince a young American journalism student to run away with him after stealing a car and murdering a police officer, Breathless is an elegant and elegant piece of cinema that would inspire several filmmakers after its release. As far as Ken Loach is concerned, it was probably the film’s revolutionary attitude that rewrote the rules of cinema that drew the director to the Godard classic.
The battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1965)
A classic of war drama, that of Gillo Pontecorvo The battle of Algiers follow the people of Algiers in their struggle for independence from the French government, sparking fear and violence as the problem escalates.
Using non-professional actors and a discreet central story, The battle of Algiers was the perfect film for Ken Loach to adopt, commenting that, “It was an anti-imperialist film. He was telling the story from the point of view of ordinary people.
“He used non-professional actors. It wasn’t too dramatic. It was discreet. He showed the impact of colonialism on daily life. These techniques had an important influence on my directing… I saw the film when it was released in 1966. It was one of the many films that influenced me.
The loves of a blonde (Milos Forman, 1965)
As is the trend with Ken Loach’s Top 10 Favorite Movies, European directors are preferred above everyone else, perhaps for their dedication to realism and groundbreaking techniques. Loach’s third choice is Miloš Forman’s Loves of a blonde, a film follows a young woman from a small town who sleeps with a member of the group from Prague and goes to his house to stir up trouble after he does not contact her.
Ken Loach notes that if he “had to choose a movie,” “I would choose Miloš Forman’s Blonde in Love. Continuing, Loach noted that: “This is a Czech film made in Prague in the 1960s, about the romance between a pianist and a small town factory girl. Because of the set, the lighting, the performances, the pace, the concern for ordinary lives, the respect and lack of melodrama… of the humanity of it, really. Forman’s approach makes him far more touching than something bloated, over-lit, and over-played with too much music.
Bicycle thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)
Often cited as one of the greatest films in cinema, Vittorio De Sica Bicycle thieves is an Italian neorealist drama set in post-war Italy, in which a working-class man’s bicycle is stolen, so he and his son set out to find it.
De Sica’s film is fairly ordinary, centered around an easily understandable story about a man’s bike theft, although it was the realism the director manages to squeeze out of the film that really caught Loach’s attention. As the British director comments: “It made me realize that cinema can be about ordinary people and their dilemmas. It was not a movie about stars, riches or absurd adventures.
Closely watched trains (Jiri Menzel, 1966)
Based on the novel by Bohumil Hrabal, who also wrote the screenplay for the film, Jirí Menzel Closely watched trains follows the life of an apprentice train dispatcher in a village station who is looking for his first sexual encounter.
This Czech comedy has a wild side typical of the country’s roots, presenting a charming and beautiful film that works on many levels. As Loach notes, “I think it’s a wonderful little movie… It’s wise and funny and human and lovely and beautiful in black and white and there is a kind of sweetness but also a happy humor that I find beautiful. but absolutely typical, Czech culture ”.
the Firefighters Ball (Miloš Forman, 1967)
This Czech-American filmmaker was perhaps more famous for his films across the Atlantic than those he made in his own country, originally in the years 1975. Flight over a cuckoo’s nest, and Amadeus nine years later.
The director’s third film, however, a comedy titled The firefighters’ ball, was the last he would do in Czechoslovakia before moving to America and follow a volunteer fire department throwing a party for their town and former boss. A satirical metaphor of communism at its heart, The firefighters’ ball is also, in its simplest form, a simple comedy about incompetent firefighters trying to perform beyond their means.
Fascinatingly, the events of the film were inspired by an actual party, which was attended by Forman and his writers.
Jules and Jim (François Truffaut, 1962)
From the master of the new wave François Truffaut, Ken Loach chooses Jules and Jim for a very specific moment, choosing the cycling scene in the film as one of the “greatest film scenes ever made”.
Accompanied by the breathtaking music of Georges Delerue, Jules, Jim and Catherine pedal together with unfailing freedom, with a bitter love triangle operating between the three of them. Speaking of the impact of the scene, Loach notes, “The feeling of fun with this trio on their bikes is everlasting. It’s completely reminiscent of that young carefree moment, the age when people are carefree. And then of course, for these three, everything will be ruined by the war ”.
Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir, 1939)
In a film loaded with class divisions, Jean Renoir Rules of the Game presents the void between the working class and the upper class with artistic elegance, a likely reason why Ken Loach has become so engrossed in the film.
Renoir’s film follows André, an aviator, who is heartbroken upon discovering that his love Christine is married to an aristocrat, only for Robert, the aristocrat himself, to find out about his wife’s affair. By highlighting the challenges of an unjust society, Renoir will inspire the Kes, sweet sixteen, and Me, Daniel Blake, among others, which dealt with the oppressive behavior of class systems on the working class.
The tree with wooden shoes (Ermanno Olmi, 1978)
Ermanno Olmi’s slow historical drama about peasant life on a feudal farm in rural Italy at the end of the 19th century is a laborious classic that used real peasants from the province of Bergamo, each of whom had no experience of farming. ‘actor.
Ken Loach’s love for non-actors probably explains his fondness for Olmi The tree with wooden shoes, which manages to create a very realistic tone thanks to the everyday individuals of the cast. Along with the play-inspired Loach, the director himself would also get a boost behind the scenes, with the cast lovingly recalling the family atmosphere on set. Lead actor Luigi Ornaghi even remembers creating snow for the film’s winter scenes by cutting pieces of white paper to shreds, an idea given to Olmi by Ken Loach.
Wild strawberries (Ingmar Bergman, 1957)
One of cinema’s most influential directors, Ingmar Bergman has inspired an array of filmmakers from Woody Allen to Satyajit Ray with films such as The seventh seal, Character, and of course Wild strawberries.
Bergman was inspired to make the film as he drove past his grandmother’s house and imagined what it would be like to open the door and find everything as it was since childhood. The director comments:
“So it hit me – what if you could make a movie about it; that you just realistically go up and open a door, then you step into your childhood, then you open another door and come back to reality, then you turn around a corner and come to another period of your existence, and everything continues, lives. That was actually the idea behind Wild strawberries. “
While magical realism is not a mainstay of Ken Loach’s filmography, the charm, beauty, and surrealism of Wild Strawberries can certainly be seen in the 2009’s In Search of Eric.