Voices

This definition of anti-Semitism has been too stretched for too long

RIGHT OF REPLY / Are you pottering, George?: Last week, George Faber, Head of Single Dramas at the BBC, defended the corporation's record in promoting new writers. W Stephen Gilbert was not convinced

In his article on the television play ('Are you listening, Dennis?', 13 October), George Faber either chooses to ignore the historical perspective or is actually ignorant of it. He may believe the bandwagon was set rolling by the dying words of Dennis Potter, but the death notice on the one-off television play was served and disputed at least as long ago as the middle 1970s.

FILM / John Lyttle on Cinema

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.

Letter: No hard evidence

Sir: In his interview (16 August) with Ken Loach and myself about the film Ladybird, Ladybird, which concerns a woman whose children were taken away by the social services, Peter Guttridge says that the journalist Carol Sarler believes 'Loach has been irresponsible in presenting the story'.

Edinburgh Festival / Day 2: The truth, or something like it: Ken Loach should be a happy man: Raining Stones was a success and Parallax, his film company, is doing good business. But he's not. He now stands accused of distorting the truth.

When Ken Loach attended the British premiere of his latest film, Ladybird, Ladybird, at the Edinburgh Film Festival last Sunday, his pleasure was soured by allegations that the film ('based on a true story'), was fundamentally flawed. He was accused by one journalist of gullibility and - worse - in presenting only one side of the story about a woman whose six children are taken away by the social services, one of them within an hour of its birth.

Edinburgh Festival Day 1: Let's do the show right here]: Why be the audience when you can be the star? Take John McKay's advice and play a part

Thinking of visiting the Edinburgh Fringe this year? Why go as a mere punter, when you could have all the fun of putting on your own show? Being last-minute and low on wherewithal is no obstacle on the Fringe: these are qualities you'll share with hundreds of other beginners. They are, in fact, the very attributes required to produce the classic Fringe show. I should know - I've done it 10 times in the last 12 years.

Arts: Feeling the charge: Prizes, praise, and enough funds to make a film a year: the Nineties are being good to Ken Loach. Now he's recreating the Spanish Civil War. Robert Butler joined him on set

THE SOFT Midlands voice is hesitant: 'Yeah, um, what'll actually be quite good, is if . . .' Ken Loach stands in the middle of a remote field in Aragon. It's hot and he's just sort of . . . yeah, um . . . helping his cast work their way through a scene. Or so it would seem.

Obituary: Joseph Janni

Joseph Janni, film producer: born Milan 21 May 1916; married 1949 Stella Griffiths (one son); died London 29 May 1994.

FILM / Videos

RENTAL

FILM / The Parallax view of the cinema: His latest awards from the Berlin Festival confirm that Ken Loach is now the major force in European cinema he always promised to be. By Kevin Jackson

Ten days before the start of the 1994 Berlin Film Festival, Ken Loach was being rather diffident about the chances for his latest production, a 'gruelling love story' entitled Ladybird, Ladybird. 'I don't think we shall do anything really. It's quite a small film and we're up against some heavyweight numbers.' Flash forward to Berlin last weekend, and cue the cheerful irony: Ladybird, Ladybird duly bags the International Critics' Prize, while its female lead, a newcomer by the name of Crissy Rock, takes the Best Actress award.

INTERVIEW / Pariah with no regrets: Ken Loach: His subjects are grim, his characters unlucky. Brian Cathcart found Britain's Cannes hero still convinced that the personal is political

THERE is a moment in Raining Stones when the central character, Bob, brings home an old van he has just bought for pounds 260. Bob needs money to buy his daughter a white dress for her first communion, and he believes that with the van he will find work. As he lifts the little girl up to play in the driving seat, he tells his wife bravely: 'This is us, kid. We're on our way up now.'

TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Stirring the nation

A young mother in a pale overcoat walks along a dilapidated terraced street pushing a pram with one hand and dragging a toddler along with the other. In 1966 this image, from CATHY COME HOME (10.35pm C4), is said to have stirred the nation into action on the homeless. Twenty-seven years after it was first screened, this drama has aged better than many of a similar vintage. Certainly, the presentation is one-sided; we see matters only from the viewpoint of the young couple, Reg and Cathy, made homeless by a series of cruel misfortunes. But, thanks to the cine verite direction of Ken Loach and the compelling performances of Ray Brooks and (particularly) Carol White in the leads, the drama still has undeniable force. Jeremy Sandford's screenplay starts with Reg and Cathy enjoying newly wedded bliss; she delights in the tin- opener fixed to the wall at their new flat. After Reg has an accident at work, however, the couple and their three children slip with alarming speed from parents' house to caravan to hostel to street. The abiding image is of a hard-faced housing office bureaucrat saying: 'I'm sorry, I don't make the rules.'
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