Home Entertainment Cannes 2023: “The Old Oak”, Ken Loach’s Last Humanism Tour

Cannes 2023: “The Old Oak”, Ken Loach’s Last Humanism Tour

Cannes 2023: “The Old Oak”, Ken Loach’s Last Humanism Tour

Official selection – competition

The last film to enter the Cannes competition seems to be old oak Ken Loach is also the last director who crossed the 86-year mark in spring. Be careful, nothing is certain with artists, social or not. Faithful man and film director, heir “Free Cinema” whose expectations he popularized in his documentary fiction, only Loach became a trademark in the 1990s, the benchmark author of the English proletarian chanson de geste.

In this regard, his first two feature films – Kes In 1969 and A caged life In 1972 – set the stage, still unmatched by its author, for a work that records with a vigorous humanism the great social changes of its time, always from the point of view of the weakest and most vulnerable. There is no other place to place this potentially definitive film than in the area from which it originates, a field of memory ruins and workers’ brilliance in recent vicissitudes.

So here we are transported to a city in northern England in 2016, where the movement of globalization, deindustrialization, the impoverishment of the working class, the arrival of immigrants in poverty have driven people into the arms of ideologies that support more. or a less radical and violent form “national advantage”. What gives it here: the arrival of Syrian women and children fleeing the regime’s murderous madness in a former mining village; The welcome was clearly alienated from the aggressive young nationalists and the small number of charitable volunteers. One thing leads to another, and an unexpected friendship is born between TJ Ballantine (Dave Turner), the landlord of a rundown pub. old oakand Yara (Elba Marie), a young woman who learned English in the refugee camps and speaks it perfectly.

Solidarity of the losers

The meeting of these two characters, when they get to know each other, becomes clearer: both come from the ruins of the past, both try to rebuild themselves. Ballantyne suffered the disaster of mine closure. His wife left him. The son does not speak to him anymore. He runs a dilapidated pub, which is still the last place of sociability in the village. Yara was forced to leave her country, her memories, her language and her father, who she doesn’t know is still alive. This old utopia of the solidarity of the losers still faces difficulties around which the film’s tale crystallizes, and the screenplay by Loach’s devoted screenwriter Paul Laverty.

Source: Le Monde


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