Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

“The Old Oak”: Ken Loach on the causes of division in Britain

A pub for the local community of a small town in northern England The Old Oak this is a special place. The only space where people can still meet and discuss current affairs over a mug of beer, but also a symbol of the brutal changes that affected the area due to the deep economic recession.

Everything started to change in the mid-1980s, when the city, which had been prospering thanks to the mining industry, gradually began to sink into crisis due to the strike. The young, seeing no place for themselves, began to leave in search of better prospects, and those who stayed sunk into stagnation. Growing frustration and distrust towards everything foreign finds an outlet when a bus with Syrian refugees arrives in the city. The situation is becoming more and more tense, and residents do not like the fact that visitors can count on more support than they do. An extraordinary friendship that develops between the pub owner and a young Syrian woman may provide a chance for understanding.

One of the most important British directors, Ken Loach, once again tackles an important social issue and looks for light where it is not easy to find it. Taking up the issue of immigration, he ponders the causes of xenophobia among his compatriots, not without reason referring to deep systemic neglect.

On the screen we will see: Dave’and Turner, Ebla Mari, Claire Rodgerson, Trevor Fox, Chris McGlade’ai Chrissie Robinson.

The author of the script is Ken Loach’s regular collaborator – Paul Laverty (“I, Daniel Blake”, “We’re Home”, “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”).

“The chemistry between the main characters, Dave Turner and Ebla Mari, leads to a relationship rarely seen in today’s cinema,” wrote Peter Debruge in his review for Variety. “It is a story about contemporary Britain, xenophobia, immigration. But also Loach’s last appeal for solidarity, which fits so well into his many years of work,” emphasized Rory O’Connor (The Film Stare).

Ken Loach is one of the most important British directors in history. He was born in 1936 in Nuneaton. Initially, he worked as an actor in a local theater group, then moved into directing, serving as an apprentice at the BBC. From the very beginning he was interested in social issues, which was probably due to the fact that he came from a working-class family. His first films: “Waiting for Life” (1967), “Kes” (1969), “Family Life” (1971), drew attention to his great talent, which was only confirmed by subsequent productions.

He is the winner of many prestigious awards, including the Palme d’Or in Canna, the Golden Lion in Venice, the César and the BAFTA. Many of his films have entered the canon of cinema history. He is known for his socialist beliefs and involvement in social issues.