In Conversation – Ken Loach with Cillian Murphy

BFI Fellow Ken Loach joins actor Cillian Murphy In Conversation, having worked together on The Wind That Shakes The Barley, bringing them both a BIFA award for Best Actor and Best Director as well as the Palme d’Or for the film. Ken Loach was awarded the BFI Fellowship in 1996 and became a BAFTA Fellow in 2006, as well as receiving countless international awards for best director and best film for his prolific film and television output. Known for his social realist approach and engagement with socialist themes, including homelessness in Cathy Come Home, the Iraq occupation in Route Irish and resistance in the Spanish Civil War in Land and Freedom, Loach founded independent production company Sixteen Films which continues with strong critical success.

The conversation focuses on Loach’s dedicatation to documenting social and political injustice, the importance of artistic collaboration, the often-overlooked humour in Loach’s films, and the impact working with Loach had on his own approach to acting.

Also highlighted is the controversy surrounding Loach’s trade union documentary A Question of Leadership, intended for national ITV broadcast. It was criticised by the Independent Broadcasting Authority for its explicitly anti-government stance. It was eventually screened a year later, exclusively in the Midlands (tx. 13/8/1981).

Believing that the then-new Channel 4 would be more amenable to politicised documentaries, Loach proposed the four-part Questions of Leadership (1983), a wider-ranging study of the trade union movement – but on viewing the completed programmes’ strong criticism of leading trade unionists, an anxious Channel 4 shortened the series to two parts and proposed screening a ‘balancing’ documentary by a different filmmaker, before scrapping the broadcast altogether.

Documents detailing Questions of Leadership can be read here at the BFI, Special Collections. For more on the Ken Loach documentation collection at the BFI, read Wendy Russell’s report from 2011.

via BFI Screenonline

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