FILM / John Lyttle on Cinema

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I'm not being entirely facetious when I suggest that Margaret Thatcher and John Major are partially responsible for the recent re-blossoming of Ken Loach's career. If certain appalling social conditions weren't still prevalent, if certain classes weren't badly taught, badly treated and at the mercy of monolithic institutions (from the NHS to the social services to local councils to the legal system) then the director might - just might - have been robbed of the tawdry injustices that inspired him to take up his camera. It's something of a paradox - Loach is drawn to, and inspired by, the very things that disgust and enrage him. And they won't go away.

I touch upon this because coming out of a screening of Loach's Ladybird, Ladybird (with Crissy Rock, right) last week were a rather tweedy man and a rather earnest woman. She was saying that Loach had done it all before: Cathy Come Home on TV, right, they took the children away from the working class mother in that, right. And what about Poor Cow and Up the Junction - those were about women trapped by their circumstances too. The man nodded agreement and moaned about how stylistically rigid Loach was. Why, his technique was no different for this than it was for Raining Stones and Riff Raff. Social realism, social realism, social realism. . .

I was tempted to tap them on the shoulder pads and ask why they bothered to attend Ken Loach movies, and if there had been some pro-prole revolution during the last 20 years that I had missed. Too late. The couple glided away to the kerb and he, like a gentleman, opened the door of the Masarati so his lady love could enter the vehicle with a certain elegance.

I laughed when she tripped.

(Photograph omitted)

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