|Who is it?||Director, Writer, Producer|
|Birth Day||June 17, 1936|
|Birth Place||Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom|
|Age||84 YEARS OLD|
|Alma mater||St Peter's College, Oxford|
|Spouse(s)||Lesley Ashton (m. 1962)|
It makes you angry, not on your own behalf, but on behalf of the people whose voices weren't allowed to be heard. When you had trade unions, ordinary people, rank and file, never been on television, never been interviewed, and they're not allowed to be heard, that's scandalous.
Loach was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, the son of Vivien (née Hamlin) and John Loach. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School and went on to study law at St Peter's College, Oxford. He graduated with a law degree in 1957. After Oxford He spent 2 years in the Royal Air Force.
Loach first joined the Labour Party from the early 1960s. In 1980s, he was in the Labour Party because of the presence of "a radical element that was critical of the leadership", but Loach had left the Labour Party by the mid-1990s after being a member for 30 years. During the 1960s and 1970s, he was associated with (or a member of) the Socialist Labour League (later the Workers Revolutionary Party), the International Socialists (later the Socialist Workers Party or SWP) and the International Marxist Group.
Loach's ten contributions to the BBC's Wednesday Play anthology series include the docudramas Up the Junction (1965), Cathy Come Home (1966) and In Two Minds (1967). They portray working-class people in conflict with the authorities above them. Three of his early plays are believed to be lost. His 1965 play Three Clear Sundays dealt with capital punishment, and was broadcast at a time when the debate was at a height in the United Kingdom. Up the Junction, adapted by Nell Dunn from her book with the assistance of Loach, deals with an illegal abortion while the leading characters in Cathy Come Home, by Jeremy Sandford, are affected by homelessness, unemployment, and the workings of Social Services. In Two Minds, written by David Mercer, concerns a young schizophrenic woman's experiences of the mental health system. Tony Garnett began to work as his Producer in this period, a professional connection which would last until the end of the 1970s.
Coinciding with his work for The Wednesday Play, Loach began to direct feature films for the cinema, with Poor Cow (1967) and Kes (1969). The latter recounts the story of a troubled boy and his kestrel, and is based on the novel A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines. The film was well received, although the use of Yorkshire dialect throughout the film restricted its distribution, with some American executives at United Artists saying that they would have found a film in Hungarian easier to understand. The British Film Institute named it No 7 in its list of best British films of the twentieth century, published in 1999.
Loach was amongst the first British Directors to use swearing in his films. Mary Whitehouse complained about swearing in Cathy Come Home and Up The Junction, while The Big Flame (1969) for the BBC was an early instance of the word shit, and the certificate to Kes caused some debate owing to the profanity, but these films have relatively few swear words compared to his later work. In particular, the film Sweet Sixteen was awarded an 18 certificate on the basis of the very large amount of swearing, despite the lack of serious violence or sexual content, which led Loach to encourage under-18s to break the law to see the film.
Loach lives with his wife, Lesley, in Bath. His son Jim Loach has also become a television and film Director. A younger son died in a car accident, aged five, and he also has another son and two daughters, one of whom is Emma Loach (born 1972), a documentary film maker who is married to the actor Elliot Levey.
Days of Hope (1975) is a four part drama for the BBC directed by Loach from, scripts by dramatist Jim Allen. The first episode of the series caused considerable controversy in the British media owing to its critical depiction of the military in World War I, and particularly over a scene where conscientious objectors were tied up to stakes outside trenches in view of enemy fire after refusing to obey orders. An ex-serviceman subsequently contacted The Times newspaper with an illustration from the time of a similar scene.
Loach turned down an OBE in 1977. In a Radio Times interview, published in March 2001, he said:
From the late 1980s, Loach directed theatrical feature films more regularly, a series of films such as Hidden Agenda (1990), dealing with the political troubles in Northern Ireland, Land and Freedom (1995), examining the Republican resistance in the Spanish Civil War and Carla's Song (1996), which was set partially in Nicaragua. He directed the Courtroom Drama reconstructions in the docu-film McLibel, concerning McDonald's Restaurants v Morris & Steel, the longest libel trial in English history. Interspersed with political films were smaller dramas such as Raining Stones (1993) a working-class drama concerning an unemployed man's efforts to buy a communion dress for his young daughter.
Loach's documentary A Question of Leadership (1981) interviewed members of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation (the main trade union for Britain's steel industry) with regards to their 14-week strike in 1980, and recorded much criticism of the union's leadership for conceding over the issues in the strike. Subsequently, Loach made a four-part series named Questions of Leadership which subjected the leadership of other trade unions to similar scrutiny from their members, but this has never been broadcast. Frank Chapple, leader of the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union, walked out of the interview and made a complaint to the Independent Broadcasting Authority. A separate complaint was made by Terry Duffy of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union. The series was due to be broadcast during the Trade Union Congress conference in 1983, but Channel 4 decided against broadcasting the series following the complaints. Anthony Hayward claimed in 2004 that the media tycoon Robert Maxwell had put pressure on Central's board, of which he had become a Director, to withdraw Questions of Leadership at the time he was buying the Daily Mirror newspaper and needed the co-operation of union Leaders, especially Chapple.
Which Side Are You On? (1985), about the songs and poems of the UK miners' strike, was originally due to be broadcast on The South Bank Show, but was rejected on the grounds that it was too politically unbalanced for an arts show. The film was eventually transmitted on Channel 4, but only after it won a prize at an Italian film festival. Three weeks after the end of the strike, the film End of the Battle ... Not the End of the War? was broadcast by Channel 4 in its Diverse Strands series. This film argued that the Conservative Party had planned the destruction of the National Union of Mineworkers' political power from the late 1970s.
Working again with Jim Allen, Loach was due to direct a play named Perdition, which suggested that Zionists in Hungary collaborated with the Nazis to help the operation of the Holocaust in return for allowing a few Jews to emigrate to Palestine. The play was scheduled to run at the Royal Court Theatre in 1987, but following protests and allegations of antisemitism, its run was cancelled 36 hours before the premiere.
Throughout the 2000s, Loach interspersed wider political dramas such as Bread and Roses (2000), which focused on the Los Angeles janitors strike and Route Irish (2010) set during the Iraq occupation with smaller examinations of personal relationships. Ae Fond Kiss... (aka, Just a Kiss, 2004) explored an inter-racial love affair, Sweet Sixteen (2002) concerns a teenager's relationship with his mother and My Name Is Joe (1998) an alcoholic's struggle to stay sober. His most commercial later film is Looking for Eric (2009), featuring a depressed postman's conversations with the ex-Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona appearing as himself. The film won the Magritte Award for Best Co-Production. Although successful in Manchester, the film was a flop in many other cities, especially cities with rival football teams to Manchester United.
In 2003, Loach received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University and received the 2003 Praemium Imperiale (lit. "World Culture Prize in Memory of His Imperial Highness Prince Takamatsu") in the category Film/Theatre.
Involved in Respect - The Unity Coalition from its beginnings in January 2004, and stood for election to the European Parliament on the Respect list in 2004. Loach was elected to the national council of Respect the following November. When Respect split in 2007, Loach identified with Respect Renewal, the faction identified with George Galloway. Later, his connection with Respect ended.
Loach has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Bath, the University of Birmingham, Staffordshire University, and Keele University. Oxford University awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in June 2005. He is also an honorary fellow of his alma mater, St Peter's College, Oxford. In May 2006, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship at the BAFTA TV Awards.
On 28 May 2006, Loach won the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival for his film The Wind That Shakes the Barley, a political-historical drama about the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Irish Civil War during the 1920s. Like Hidden Agenda before it, The Wind That Shakes the Barley was criticised for allegedly being too sympathetic to the Irish Republican Army and Provisional Irish Republican Army. This film was followed by It's a Free World... (2007), a story of one woman's attempt to establish an illegal placement Service for migrant workers in London.
In 2007, Loach was one of more than 100 artists and Writers who signed an open letter calling on the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival "to honour calls for an international boycott of Israeli political and cultural institutions, by discontinuing Israeli consulate sponsorship of the LGBT film festival and not co-sponsoring events with the Israeli consulate". Loach also joined "54 international figures in the literary and cultural fields" in signing a letter that stated, in part, "celebrating 'Israel at 60' is tantamount to dancing on Palestinian graves to the haunting tune of lingering dispossession and multi-faceted injustice". The letter was published in the International Herald Tribune on 8 May 2008.
In June 2009, Loach, Laverty and O'Brien withdrew their film Looking For Eric from the Melbourne International Film Festival, where the Israeli Embassy is a sponsor, after the festival declined to withdraw that sponsorship. The festival's chief executive, Richard Moore, compared Loach's tactics to blackmail, stating that "we will not participate in a boycott against the State of Israel, just as we would not contemplate boycotting films from China or other nations involved in difficult long-standing historical disputes". Australian lawmaker Michael Danby also criticised Loach's tactics stating that "Israelis and Australians have always had a lot in Common, including contempt for the irritating British penchant for claiming cultural superiority. Melbourne is a very different place to Londonistan". Loach called for a boycott of the 2009 Edinburgh Film Festival if it showed a film by Tali Shalom-Ezer, who had accepted £300 from the Israeli embassy for travel expenses. An article in The Scotsman by Alex Massie noted that Loach had not called for the same boycott of the Cannes Film Festival, where his film was in competition with some Israeli films.
Together with John Pilger and Jemima Khan, Loach was among the six people in court who offered surety for Julian Assange when he was arrested in London on 7 December 2010. The money was forfeited when Assange skipped bail to seek asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador, London.
Throughout his career, some of Loach's films have been shelved for political reasons. In a 2011 interview with The Guardian newspaper he said:
In November 2012, Loach turned down the Turin Film Festival award, after learning that the National Museum of Cinema in Turin had outsourced cleaning and security services. As a consequence, workers had been dismissed, while there had been allegations of intimidation and harassment. Some workers lost their jobs after opposing a wage cut.
The Angels' Share (2013) is centred on a young Scottish troublemaker who is given a final opportunity to stay out of jail. Newcomer Paul Brannigan, then 24, from Glasgow, played the lead role. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival where Loach won the Jury Prize. Jimmy's Hall (2014) was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Loach announced his retirement from film-making in 2014 but soon after restarted his career following the election of a Conservative government in the UK general election of 2015.
In 2014, he was presented with the Honorary Golden Bear at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.
In August 2015, Loach endorsed Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership campaign. The following year, in July, he endorsed Corbyn again in the second leadership election. In September, Loach's one-hour documentary during the run-up to the Labour leadership election called In Conversation with Jeremy Corbyn was released.
The Raindance Film Festival announced in September 2016 that it would be honouring Loach with its inaugural Auteur Award, to recognise his "achievements in filmmaking and contribution to the film industry."
In late-September 2017, during the Labour Party conference, Loach was interviewed by the BBC's Jo Coburn. Loach said he had "been going to Labour party meetings for over 50 years", as well as those of trade unions and others. "I have never, in that whole time, heard a single anti-Semitic word or racist word", but added "I’m not saying it doesn’t exist in society". He was asked about a conference fringe event at which Miko Peled suggested people should be allowed to question whether the Holocaust had happened. Loach responded: "I think history is for all of us to discuss. The founding of the state of Israel, for Example, based on ethnic cleansing, is there for us all to discuss, so don't try and subvert that by false stories of antisemitism," prompting an accusation of Holocaust denial to be made against him. Following the publication of articles by Jonathan Freedland and Howard Jacobson which were critical of him, he rejected such an assertion.
Loach was reported to have said, at a screening of I, Daniel Blake organised by the Kingswood Constituency Labour Party in Bristol in April 2018, that those Labour MPs who had attended a rally on 26 March 2018 in Parliament Square opposing Antisemitism in the Labour Party should be deselected, or as he reputedly expressed it "kicked out" because of their lack of support for Corbyn. Asked for clarification by the Daily Mail, who first reported his comments, Loach said they "do not reflect my position". A few days later it emerged Loach would not be asked to produce further Labour Party political broadcasts.