Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Films by Ken Loach

I haven't been on here for some time! This is my last post for some more time as well as I will be off travelling and volunteering around the world.

Ken Loach is a British director who has had much critical acclaim. His YouTube channel features some of his films in full so it's only right to link them here for you.

The Big Flame

'The Big Flame' was writer Jim Allen's second Wednesday Play (BBC, 1964-70), and his first with director Kenneth Loach. After 'The Lump' (tx. 1/2/1967), about the exploitation of casual labour in the building trade, Allen used his Marxist credentials to depict striking Liverpool dockers enacting a Communist-style system of workers' control.

His others are not embeddable but here are links to watch them externally.

Cathy, Come Home - From the BBC's influential 'Wednesday Play' series. This tells the bleak tale of Cathy, who loses her home, husband and eventually her child through the inflexibility of the British welfare system. A grim picture is painted of mid-sixties London, realistic, but the viewer cannot but realise that a political point is being made. One of the consequences of this film was the formation of the housing charity 'Shelter'.

The Gamekeeper - A simple tale of a year in the life of a Gamekeeper. From the troubles involved in rearing the pheasants and dealing with predators (poachers and foxes). The gamekeeper shows us all the good things about living so close to nature. The end of his year comes with the organised shoot. He has the sudden pressure of dealing with a lot of people, (beaters, the guns and "the master") and ensuring that everyone has a good day and stays safe.

Land and Freedom - 1936. David an unemployed young man, leaves Liverpool to join the fight against Fascism in the early days of the Spanish Civil War. He joins an international section of the Republican Militia on the Aragon front where he experiences the trials and anguish of the war.

Looks and Smiles - It's 1980 in Sheffield and Mick and Alan have just left school, full of dreams for the future. But against the background of Thatcher's Britain the two soon wake up reality, facing daily rejection in their search for work.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Scrooge (1935)

Not quite so highly rated at 6.5/10, this is the first sound version of the Charles Dickens' story. Seymour Hicks plays the title role in the first sound version of the Dickens classic about the miser who's visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. This British import is notable for being the only adaptation of this story with an invisible Marley's Ghost and its Expressionistic cinematography. This is the uncut 78 minute version.

IMDB page

The Man Who Planted Trees (1987)

This is a beautiful French story that was made into an animation directed by Frédéric Back. It is the story of one shepherd's long and successful singlehanded effort to re-forest a desolate valley. Very moving, it is appropriate for both children and adults.

IMDB page (8.8/10)

This version is narrated in English.

Click here for the French version, which also has many other languages subtitled.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)

This is a classic of the cinema, now in the public domain. Adapted from a novel by German author Erich Maria Remarque, the film follows a group of German schoolboys, talked into enlisting at the beginning of World War 1 by their jingoistic teacher. The story is told entirely through the experiences of the young German recruits and highlights the tragedy of war through the eyes of individuals. As the boys witness death and mutilation all around them, any preconceptions about "the enemy" and the "rights and wrongs" of the conflict disappear, leaving them angry and bewildered.

IMDB page (8.1/10)

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Who Wrote the Bible?

Who Wrote the Bible? Is the Bible the Word of God? Why is the Bible full of Contradictions? This documentary explores questions at the heart of the great Christian faith in a fair open-minded fashion. It is NOT meant to be inflammatory but informative. It is led by a Christian theologian, Robert Beckford, who goes on a mission to investigate the book that he was brought up with.

IMDB page 7.4/10

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Man With A Movie Camera (1929)

This film is famous for the range of cinematic techniques Vertov invents, deploys or develops, such as double exposure, fast motion, slow motion, freeze frames, jump cuts, split screens, Dutch angles, extreme close-ups, tracking shots, footage played backwards, animations, and a self-reflexive style(at one point it features a split screen tracking shot; the sides have opposite Dutch angles).

IMDB page (8.3/10)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Peak Oil (2006)/ The Power of Community (2006)

This is not strictly a film or documentary but a presentation by Richard Heinberg. I've posted this because "The End of Suburbia" is unavailable online but this covers the same kind of ground. It is about the fact that peak oil production is happening right now and all the research behind it. Don't ever believe anything that the oil companies tell you, what the American media or politicians tell you about it not running out. It is... those people have a lot of money at stake, independent researchers don't. So watch this, it's less than an hour and then watch the other video below to see that it does not actually spell impending doom for the planet.

The Power of Community

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half – and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens.

IMDB page 8.4/10