Ken Loach: ‘Watching young people riot, I felt sad for their alienation’

I don't believe in stories that give falsely optimistic endings When we made Kes years ago, one critic said [of the main character], "Couldn't he have got a job in a zoo?" which ignores the whole point of the story – he was in a closed world, a social cul-de-sac. The ending can be happy – then it's comedy; or sad – then, if it's good enough, it's tragedy. But it has to be true.

Language is undervalued in cinema It's not just a series of images, it's also a series of sequences and it can describe relationships, arguments, ideas and people. And in revealing people, of course, language is fundamental. [My appreciation of language] came from the theatre, because I was brought up on the great plays, and also from variety [shows] – from the great comics and their use of language and the richness of dialect.

I don't feel foreign when I film in other countries We went to Nicaragua and I didn't have much grasp of the language, but the women trying to run what was left of the Sandinista revolution were the same women who fought against pit closures, or who supported the Liverpool dockers when they were losing their jobs. There's always an element of recognition.

I'm not sure I'd count any difference that I've made as a film-maker at all What you want to do is add your shoulder to a collective wheel and show solidarity with the people you respect. But I've no grand illusions about what films can do. Would I have made more difference as a lawyer? [Loach studied Law at Oxford.] I think I'd have been a very bad one. Short-term memory loss – but maybe that's just age.

Watching young people wreck the places where they live [in the riots], I mainly felt very sad Sad for their alienation, their disaffection and their lack of hope. A lot of us feel angry too, because politicians should be able to articulate those frustrations and channel it into something progressive.

Offering sticking plasters can be counter-productive In so far as charity is palliative, it will offer help to a few people and the main problem will go unsolved. If it is critical and investigative and gets to the root causes, then it has a worthwhile function.

The BFI Ken Loach retrospective is at BFI Southbank, London SE1, until 12 October, with additional screenings in Belfast, Sheffield and Glasgow ( bfi.org.uk)

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen