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Posts from the ‘film’ Category

Ken Loach and his latest film “I David Blake”

I have mentioned our little cinema, in our adopted french village, a number of times. We are so lucky to have it and never tire of saying so. The village itself, nestled at the foot of the Luberon mountains is steeped in ancient history. It is the site of troglodyte homes and vestiges of Roman buildings. Our own home is relatively recent as it is the third belt of building around the village. It was built sometime in the 17th century.

Our cinema is run, mostly on a voluntary basis, by a group of young people. Their taste in film is really eclectic. hence we get to see films we might never choose to go to see or indeed could not be seen in the big screen cinemas.

Last night was no exception. First we were treated to “La Methode Ken Loach” which is a web documentary, in VO with french subtitles. It can be seen here

It gives some insight into how Ken Loach and his team work on an idea and then translate it into a project. He has worked with most of his team for a very long time. His methodology is to try to re-create scenes he, or one of his team,  has witnessed or experienced. He feels that although the result looks and ‘feels’ like a documentary he is freer to present his turn on the events in his own way.

As a photographer, I was really interested in the fact that he uses, wherever possible, natural light and ‘real’ locations. This is a breath of fresh air in the whizz bang world of modern cinematography.

Finding the right actors takes up an enormous amount of time at the preparation stages. For this latest film “I Daniel Blake”, which won the Palme D’Or in Cannes, he chose two ‘unknown actors. For the leading male part he chose a comedian Dave Johns, a true “Geordie’. The female lead was an aspiring actress, Haley Squires. Each was outstanding in the part they had to play.

Part of Loach’s methodology is to let the story unfold without giving the actors all the information. Sometimes he gives one of the actors the information but not the other. This is what happened towards the end of this film. This brings out spontaneous reactions in the actors which would be almost impossible to ‘stage’.

This is a wonderful film and a ‘must see’ for anyone interested in where we are in our present day society.

A trailer can be seen here.

Read also The Guardian article:

Corbyn urges May to see I, Daniel Blake to gain insight to life on welfare

5 Nov 2016

From Charlie to Timbuktu via Les Héritiers

France is still feeling the pain of the recent massacres but people are asking “Why?” and maybe they will find some answers in two films we were privileged to see in the past week.

The first was Les Héritiers  seen the Sunday night of the Unity March.


Click on the image to see the trailer in French.

Synopsis: D’après une histoire vraie.
Lycée Léon Blum de Créteil, une prof décide de faire passer un concours national d’Histoire à sa classe de seconde la plus faible. Cette rencontre va les transformer.

Based on a true story. A teacher, at the Lycée Léon Blum de Créteil, decided to get her, very weak, second year students to enter a national history competition. The experience completely changed them.

What was most pertinent about this film was the opening scene. A young veiled Muslim woman returns to the school to collect her exam results. The assistant head teacher reminds her very forcibly and extremely rudely that the wearing of scarves is forbidden for students. The ex-student reminds the teacher that she is no longer a student. This sets the scene . The student mix is multi-ethnical., multi racial and with low expectations. The young history teacher, without raising her voice, gets the students working together enthusiastically on the national history project. Despite being a true story the film ends, as films should, happily.

Timbuktu is also loosely based on a situation which happened in Mali in 2010 but there the similarities end.


Trailer in English


A group of young Jihadists move in and impose Sharia law on the music loving, laid back citizens of Timbuktu. At first they are incredulous and a young fish seller tries to protest when forced to wear gloves.

Kidane is a young farmer living, in his tent, in the desert with his wife and daughter. He accidentially kills his fisherman neighbour after the latter kills Kidanes cow.  The Jihadists mete out the full rigors of Sharia law both on Kidane and the young musicians of the area. The brutal scenes are all the more horrifying in the middle of the beautiful soft desert surroundings.

The film shows what indoctrination does to young men and how it removes all capacity for compassion. It also shows the local Imam trying to reason calmly with the Jihadists when one of them forcibly marries a beautiful local girl. But they coldly ignore him.

This is a beautifully crafted film which shows both sides of the islamic divide. Unfortunately a Mayor in Paris thought fit to ban the film without first having viewed it… A report  below.

French Mayor Bans Anti-Jihadist Muslim Film


21 Jan 2015