FIPRESCI Honors Ken Loach

British director Ken Loach honored with the FIPRESCI Platinum Award 95 at Transatlantyk Festival 2020. See Derek Malcolm on Ken Loach

The Transatlantyk Film Festival and FIPRESCI inform

Winner of two Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and five awards at Venice Film Festival as well as the director who has a soft spot and keen eye on social issues will receive FIPRESCI Platinum Award 95 in person, during the 10th Transatlantyk International Film Festival which will be held between 1-8 October in Silesia, Katowice in Poland.

Ken Loach puts the camera wherever he sees injustice and his gaze is always characterized by sharpness, but with palpable tenderness hidden beneath. His films are received very enthusiastically around the world, and the director has received many awards at the most important film festivals in the world including lifetime achievement award at Venice Film Festival in 1994. The director received his first Palme D’Or in 2006 for The Wind That Shakes the Barley. In 2017 Loach won his second Palme d’Or for I, Daniel Blake, a film which, contrary to what many people think and say in UK, questions the effectiveness of the local social welfare system.

Loach portrays the British society with conviction and sharpness because he knows it from the bottom to top. He was raised in an unprivileged family in a small town in Warwickshire. After school he had to do physical labor to help out his family. Few years later he changed a scene completely when he started to study law at the University of Oxford. He never worked as a lawyer, but on the other hand each of his films can be considered an exhibit of injustice and a public hearing. Director’s court is a screening room.

Ken Loach has successfully worked in the theater and on television. At times, his work triggered a social debate that resulted in legal changes – as it happened after Cathy Come Home (1966) in which Loach targeted the issue of homelessness. You can argue with his point of view – and this is what part of the British establishment does on regular basis – but his mastery of building characters from small scenes, gestures and short lines of dialogue is undeniable. So is Loach’s constant willingness to shed a light on people who do not have enough resources or strength to claim their story.

In many of his films, including Carla’s Song, Bread and Roses (1996), Land and Freedom (1995), The Wind That Shakes the Barley the director has shown the oppressed nation’s relentless battle for freedom – the steadfast struggle and dreams of independence.

Ken Loach calls himself an optimist, although his films may give an opposite impression at first. However, the audience can easily sense that the director stands by his characters who make horrible decision, but ultimately achieve some kind of a moral victory. Despite his critical views of the world, the director has faith in an triumph of ideals and above all – he believes in people and their ability to survive and to build lasting, empowering relationships.

The FIPRESCI Platinum Award 95 will be presented to Ken Loach at the Transatlantyk Festival. The director himself will arrive in Katowice in person. The retrospective of his films will be held at the festival on the occasion. Five following films will be screened: Kes (1969), The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Riff-Raff (1991), I Am Joe (2016) and Sorry, We Missed You (2019). The films were chosen by Ken Loach himself. The festival audience will also have a chance to participate in a masterclass with the legendary artist.

If the pandemic sanitary regulations prevent the director from traveling, he will participate in the Transatlantyk Festival virtually and the meeting will be broadcasted. However both Ken Loach and the Transatlantyk Festival’s organizers hope that physical meeting as well as physical masterclass will be possible.

Joanna Łapińska, Director of Programming of the Festival says: “As part of the retrospective we will present five of the director’s films, including the outstanding Kes from 1969, considered one of the greatest films in the history of cinema, as well as the film for which the director received his first Golden Palm – The Wind That Shakes the Barley. We are in touch with Ken Loach who is personally involved in the preparation of his visit to the Festival. We are glad that we will meet him in Katowice where some of the scenes for Loach’s 2008 film It’s a Free World were shot’.

Transatlantyk Festival is one of two film festivals in the world during which the jubilee awards of the International Federation of Film Critics FIPRESCI are presented. The FIPRESCI 90+ Awards, commemorating the ninetieth anniversary of this international organization of film critics, will be awarded every year until FIPRESCI’s 100th birthday. So far Platinum Award at Transatlantyk Festival was presented to Lucrecia Martel, Sally Potter and Arturo Ripstein.

The 10th Transatlantyk Festival will be held between October 1-8 in Silesia, Katowice in Poland. The founder and director of the Festival is the composer, Oscar winner Jan A.P. Kaczmarek.

Transatlantyk Festival
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