by Ariston Anderson.
Few filmmakers bring to life social issues as vividly as Ken Loach. Whether helming grand historical dramas about family, love and civil war (The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Land and Freedom) or character-driven films detailing the plight of the working class (Kes, Riff-Raff, Sweet Sixteen, Bread and Roses) Loach is a master of creating universal stories that are immensely relatable regardless of time or place.
His latest effort, a documentary, The Spirit of ’45, which had its world premiere at this year’s Berlinale, continues the grand tradition with a story as relevant today as it was over half a century ago. The film looks at the sense of hope pervading the U.K. after the Second World War. Its people had won the war together, and believed that they would rebuild their country together.
Loach chronicles the Labour victory of 1945 through the voices of political activists, workers, unionists, and economists of the time. We see the resulting National Health Service and public ownership of utilities and transportation industries as well as what happens to the society after the effects of Thatcherism and the cult of the individual take away these social gains.
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