I, Daniel Blake, the 2016 movie depicting the messed up and wretched life of a middle-aged carpenter, whose attempts to seek financial aid after a massive heart attack are doomed by the asinine bureaucratic claws, holds one of the haunting imageries of the year. Daniel Blake, the working class protagonist, who thrown out of the government office of financial aid for medical assistance, writes his name and grievance on the office wall with a sprayer. As the passers-by watching him curiously, Blake sits below the slogan “”I, Daniel Blake demand my appeal date before I starve”, with a determined face, only to be taken away by the policemen soon after.

The scene encapsulates intense drama, tension, bureaucratic obstinacy, and hopelessness of lower middle class in a densely capitalist society, the key characteristics of British filmmaker Ken Loach’s movies. Ken Loach is known for realistic takes of human dramas and contradictions in Western societies and in this exclusive documentary, a vivid picture of Ken Loach and his films unveil through a series of conversations of the filmmaker, his collaborators and carefully picked up footages from his filmography. Ken Loach describes his priorities, reflects upon his recurring themes and techniques and remembers his frequent collaborators in the conversation.

Being hailed as the master of working class dramas and with two Palme d’Or to his credit, Ken Loach delves deep into the world of blue-collar workers, whose lives are made traumatic and trivial by the forces of a competitive and exploiting system. Contrary to his Hollywood counterparts, Ken Loach treats his working class characters with compassion and sensitivity. His body of work includes, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Land and Freedom, Kes, Riff-Raff, Sweet Sixteen, Bread and Roses, and I, Daniel Blake.

Ken Loach loathes auteur theory as much as he avoids individualistic narratives. For him, both the process of filmmaking and being is a collective process and this left-leaning political footing forms the core of the aesthetic of a Ken Loach movie.

Written By: Ragesh Dipu

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