Last week Ireland’s RTE announced that Ken Loach’s back catalogue has been made available to watch for free on the director’s YouTube channel. This made me quite excited, but the news item was swiftly retracted, so it’s either untrue or it’s possible that the news was under embargo. It’s also possible that there was some confusion about what Loach was offering for free: his channel does currently allow browsers to watch some of the director’s earlier teleplays and TV dramas, so here are two of his celebrated works from the mid-1960s and one from the early 1970s:

If you have a few hours spare they’re worth a watch, and if you’ve never seen any of Loach’s work before my recommendations in terms of his feature films are all fairly obvious: Cathy Come Home, Kes, Land And Freedom, Looking For Eric and The Wind That Shakes The Barley are essential, while there are others that I haven’t seen – such as Poor Cow and Riff-Raff – that seem to be highly regarded.

10 Responses to “Casting The Net: Ken Loach”

  1. Naomi

    I find The Angels’ Share very enjoyable, one of Loach’s lighter works like Looking for Eric. And I remember seeing it in a room packed with an audience who all felt attached and invested in the characters. Fun! 🙂

    Thank you for these links!

    • Stu

      Hi Naomi, no worries at all. I also enjoyed The Angels’ Share – starts off quite serious if memory serves but I liked the way it turned into a bit of a caper!

  2. ruth

    My good friend Mark Walker tipped me about this last week, how interesting for Mr Loach to share his work this way. I enjoyed The Angels’ Share, and I got to chat w/ its writer (longtime Loach collaborator Paul Laverty). I still need to see more of his work, esp Looking For Eric.

    • Stu

      I hope that it happens – there are quite a few Ken Loach films that I’d like to see although I’d be happy enough to pay for them. Looking For Eric is really good, a real gem!

  3. Mark Walker

    As Ruth mentioned, man. I came across this info last week or so. I’ve not had a chance to thoroughly take a peek but there’s not many Loach movies I haven’t seen already.
    I enjoyed Looking for Eric but I reckon an appreciation or understanding for Football (or Cantona in particular) helps that movie. It was a tad too light hearted for my usual tastes. Still, it’s a good flick.
    Land and Freedom, The Wind that Shakes the Barley and Kes are essential in my eyes. But I’d highly recommend his Scottish work Sweet Sixteen and, especially, My Name is Joe.
    He’s done so many great films but it’s the man’s left-wing political stance and complete understanding of working class struggles that strikes me most. He’s an absolute gem of a filmmaker and it’s a shame that he’s announced his retirement.

    As an added bonus, Ae Fond Kiss was actually filmed in my highschool and I nearly auditioned as an extra. 😉

    • Stu

      Cheers Mark – interesting stuff. I think you have already recommended Sweet Sixteen and My Name Is Joe to me before after I reviewed The Angels’ Share, but thanks again anyway. I have them on my Lovefilm list but there are about 220 other titles on there at the moment so god knows when they will ever be sent out! Martin Compston’s quite a likeable actor, so hopefully not too long.

      Anyway, I completely agree with what you say about Loach. He’s got an ear and an eye for stuff that makes his films feel more authentic than anyone else’s – probably because he’s focused on the working class for 4 or 5 decades now. Land And Freedom is actually my favourite film of his (no surprise as I’m scouser) but I really like those others too. Is Ae Fond Kiss any good?


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