Perspectives on Pop Culture and the Arts

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Random Pic: Kenneth

How do: continuing with the Random Pic idea, I present a pic of Kenneth Loach below. He looks like a geography teacher, perhaps suffering from the heat on a trip abroad. In fact he's a filmmaker, and quite well respected too. He's just finished making a film with Kiarostami and Olmi, and none other than Kieslowski claimed he would 'gladly be teaboy on any of Ken Loach's film sets'. More's to the point, I just met the dude, at a 'Respect' party meeting.

Ken was talking on the subject of Britain's homelessness problem, and also commemorating the 40th anniversary of a film he made on the same topic, Cathy Come Home.

Despite the interference of a noisy fan heater, a noisy fan, and a whole host of prolonged questions from elderly bearded communists, Ken - a well known socialist- managed to get across quite a few good points about the state of our broadcast media: Ken claimed there were problems with our media: too much choice, and too much exposure, meant mediums like telly had long since lost their power to shock or have a big impact. He had a point too: whereas 'Cathy' influenced housing policy at the time of its release in 1966, and became a big talking point amongst many politicians, he felt the medium itself has since become distrusted.

'Cathy', in its vivid mockumentary depiction of a family being made homeless, deliberately confused real-life news with fictional drama. We've since become more aware of the methods filmakers use, and demand more and more technical innovation.

What Ken suggested was that this incessant drive has eliminated from film what socialist filmakers like himself would, perhaps obviously, call the heart of the film -'the people', and reduced them (as in the use of dead actors images) to simply another special effect. He was worried for actors: do we really know how films have affected acting? Will all actors in the future really just jump around in front of a blue screen? Are they at the whim and mercy of the latest development from ILM? Is Ken wearing a wig?

He was of course, referring to the high-end of the Hollywood market, and was as a socialist, at pains to stress the inherent evils of Capitalism, Hollywood, and The American Way. But it did make me wonder....


So here we have it:

Britain's greatest living filmaker, parliamentary candidate for Coventry, well-known socialist, and one of a random few - alongside John Lennon - to have publicly turned down an honour from the Queen. And definitely not wearing a wig (I think)...


2 Comments:

Anonymous K said...

Too bad Ken doesn't want to move to America and run for political office in Utah! We could use a good socialist! I think you're right on the wig -- they're usually used to make one look more stylish.

6:16 AM

 
Blogger stevo said...

Karmen,

Glad to hear you appreciate Ken - he's definitely a socialist through and through. And don't be fooled by his ('whiggish'??) appearance - although he looks like a scared and shy middle manager type, he is actually a brilliant, loud and funny speaker. In short, a legend.

5:27 AM

 

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