Ken Loach's Jimmy’s Hall
A provocative portrait of Ireland in the thirties
Ken Loach turns once again to the portrayal of a powerful and uncompromising character.
"We make films to try to subvert, create disorder and raise doubts (...).So you have to shake things up and that's what we're trying to do: put a spanner in the works, upset the status quo, challenge the version of those in power." -- Ken Loach
Winner of the Palme d’or for The Wind that Shakes the Barley in 2006, Ken Loach turns once again to the portrayal of a powerful and uncompromising character. Jimmy’s Hall is Ken Loach's fourteenth participation in the Selection, with a feature film that is true to his style.
Jimmy’s Hall is perhaps one of the Ken Loach's last fiction films, as he admits in an interview with The Guardian that he finds a certain comfort in the documentary format: "With archival images, you don't have to recreate scenes from the thirties, as we did in this film".
An intentionally provocative and didactic work, but also touching, coloured with descriptions of the economic depression that are strangely reminiscent of the present day.
|Ken Loach's thoughtful take on Irish communist Jimmy Gralton's battle to save a community hall from an uptight priest is powerful, if a little pedagogic. -- The Guardian|
Paul Laverty, Ken Loach's regular scriptwriter ever since the filming of Carla’s Song in 1995, once again leaves his imprint on the British director's project. He was even the one who suggested James Gralton's story to his friend, this story of a communist activist and local legend, whose community initiatives raised the ire of the authorities and the clergy in the conservative society of Ireland in the thirties.
Ken Loach infuses all his energy into this vibrant portrayal of the life of a man who opened the "Hall", a community centre for dancing, music and education, the vector of radical ideas for those times.
As a socially engaged filmmaker who stands for a cinema of realism, the British director continues to show his social vein: "I have always tried to capture the truth of the moment. The idea of a space that is open, resistant, and where progressive and revolutionary ideas are distilled in an oppressive society, that is what really inspired me". -- Cannes
There have been reports that Jimmy’s Hall will be Ken Loach’s last
There have been reports that Ken Loach’s latest feature Jimmy’s Hall, filmed in Leitrim and Sligo and telling the story of Irish political activist Jimmy Gralton, will be his last.
It will be a huge loss if that proves to be the case, as it’s hard to bring to mind a director who has been willing to take on issues of social injustice as consistently and courageously as Loach has in his work, while his lifelong commitment to challenging the political status quo has been characteristic of his films since he was directing television plays for the BBC in the mid-1960s. Controversy has also been a constant theme, yet the debate and fury he has provoked could never overshadow what a great filmmaker he is, and his pioneering work in television, documentary and fiction films has had a global influence.
The IFI is delighted to be presenting a two month celebration of Loach’s work, which features rare work, including the previously suppressed The Save the Children Fund Film (1969). --IFI
Following the success of Cathy Come Home, Loach was commissioned by Save the Children and London Weekend Television to mark the charity’s 50th anniversary.
Filmed in the U.K., Kenya and Uganda, Loach sought to explore the politics of poverty, class and charities and the relationship between them. At that time Save the Children representatives felt the film subverted their aims, and the film was withdrawn, languishing, unseen and unfinished, in the BFI archives for over 40 years.
With generous and appreciated permission from Save the Children, the IFI is delighted to present a rare opportunity to see Loach’s film, once believed lost. -- IFI