Ken Loach: The Spirit of 45

We have previously written about the documentary of Ken Loach and its impressive distribution in the UK, as well as the film’s excellent website that is a fine example of how you can interact with your audience and learn about politics in a country that stood together during the war and took initiatives to stand together also in times of peace. Through a labour party with a socialist policy, led by Attlee and with Bevan as the man who introduced the NHS, the National Health Service.

Loach has chosen to tell his story in a traditional way – interviews with those who remember the social conditions that were awful in the 30’es and the enthusiasm after the war, and the energy that exploded to build another just country with a decent health system, a good housing policy, secure working conditions, a society of welfare and equality.

Black & white archive material accompany the stories remembered by miners, nurses, politicians, mothers and children, also brought to the screen in black & white – and the music that comes as sweet memories also for one born just after the war: Kiss me Once, Kiss me twice, Kiss me once again…

Loach conveys the history brilliantly, whereas the link to the present is short and bitter: Margaret Thatcher of course who put the capitalism and the individualism in focus and reflections on today, the Occupy movement in photos, the bank people behind their glass temples…

You can only have respect for the master Loach for creating a debate with this film, even if the story is not much more than a warm hymn of solidarity to what some people did once and not so much more – and I have to confess that I looked at the watch a couple of times towards the end.

UK, 2013, 98 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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