Sweet and Low: Ken Loach
One of the director's of '11'09''01 - September 11' chooses his best and worst scenes of all time
Friday 17 January 2003
A Blonde in Love (Milos Forman, 1965)
The film is set in a small town in Czechoslovakia. There's a large group of girls working in local factory. One day they hear that a platoon of soldiers is arriving in town, causing a flurry of excitement. But the soldiers don't quite live up to expectations – rather than being young, beautiful and gallant, they are middle-aged and weary-looking. The soldiers do their best to chat up the girls who in turn look utterly dismayed. There's this wonderful scene where one of the men is preparing to approach Andula, the blonde of the title, but before he does he must get his wedding ring off his finger. It comes off quicker than he expects, falls under the table and rolls to the feet of the girls. It's beautifully observed and moving yet extremely funny at the same time. Foreman has a keen eye for subtlety. The scene's shot in an understated way and played out very gently. It's one of the most humane pieces of film I've ever seen.
Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott, 2002)
Almost any battle scene in this film would count as my worst since it depicts American men shooting guns in a would-be glamorous way.Black Hawk Down depicts the events in Mogadishu in 1993 that saw US soldiers stranded behind enemy lines. It's full of Americans who have names and fully developed characters shooting at Somalis who remain anonymous. Since the Somalis are a different race, they're not deemed worthy of an identity. There are hundreds of these scenes in cinema now. They represent all that's appalling about the US and it's vision of itself as the world's policeman when in fact it's the world's terrorist. The violence goes hand in hand with appalling sentimentality. It's an emblem of all that's disgusting in contemporary America and in the world.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food