One Director, Three Reviews: Ken Loach’s Cinema

You have to find a story that you have to tell. It should be a story that you have to tell, not a story that would be better to tell. 
–Ken Loach

kampfplatz focuses on Ken Loach’s cinema in its 12th issue. Loach’s directorial adventure started in 1964 with such television series as Teletale, Z Cars, and Diary of a Young Man. It has been quite a long time since Poor Cow (1967), the first feature-length stop of his journey. Kes (1969), Riff-Raff (1991), Land and Freedom (1995), Carla’s Song (1996)¸ Bread and Roses (2000), Sweet Sixteen (2002), The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006), The Angel’s Share (2012), and  I, Daniel Blake (2016) are among the masterpieces that are imprinted on his memorable quest. His focus varies from class domination of capitalism, milling machines of everyday life, gender norms that dominate women, oppressed identities, to subcultures, and it is almost impossible to take a record of his career under such titles even if we keep counting more of them. His cinematic language is so inexhaustible and productive that it forces each critical analysis to reach for more. Producing both humor and grief, anger and laughter with his camera aiming at different dimensions of the same and one unbearable reality, Ken Loach always asks us to talk about this reality more and more. But, he has one condition: you have to take sides!

Ken Loach does not allow you to situate yourself objectively against reality contrary to the dominant cinematic narratives. From the perspective of an aloof movie critic, there is not much to learn from Loach’s cinema. You either find yourself smiling or crying, or filled with anger and twitching muscles. But, every time it is either you internalize one position and laugh about it, or you detest that position and cry your eyes out for it. First and foremost, you do take a position or a side; you have to do that. He tells you the stories that he has to tell; you watch the stories that you have to watch and witness. It is a style that makes cinema a necessity not a choice.  Thus, it is a necessity for us, as well, to focus on Ken Loach’s cinema, to re-open up his works for discussion, and to force ourselves into doing more about it. Ken Loach does not offer us any chance to choose in this. So does kampfplatz have to focus on Ken Loach’s cinema!

You can send your reviews to  kampfplatzdergisi@gmail.com by 1 December 2018.