KANEI (Dagbladet): "There are many who feel deceived," says director Ken Loach.
This week's premiere of the legendary 83-year-old film, "Sorry We Missed You," premiered in Norwegian cinemas. Loach had previously won the Golden Hand in Cannes twice for "Barley Shaking Wind" (2006) and "I, Daniel Blake" (2016).
The new movie is a portrait of a family that almost fades away after the father is devoured by his new job as a messenger driver for a large company, which does not hire him but hires him as a kind of almost self-employed businessman. What initially seemed like living independence soon proved to involve working around the clock, without a safety net. Locke invites chamomile to the chamber game but, as usual, will hit the big structures.
The butcher on the left
"I believe that center-left politics, social-democratic politics, have failed," he said when Dagbladet met with him during the Cannes Film Festival.
– They were in power and managed to make structural changes. But working life has changed, with part-time jobs, insecure work, high unemployment and rising disparities. You see it in all the countries of Europe, there is growing anger, and it is not the center-left that puts words to this mind, it is extremely right.
"What we need is a serious left-wing, which says these problems stem from the economic structure itself, from the competition between big companies that cut labor costs." These are problems the suburbs have reached, which have reached the middle class. Lecturers at UK universities are massively qualified but receive no living wage.
For Loach, hope is Labor's leader, Jeremy Corbin, of whom he is a strong supporter.
– We have a great opportunity, but we are attacked by the remnants of Tony Blair's Labor Party; Blair, with his support of big companies and their illegal wars. But as long as we stick to the old structures, the right-wing radicals will get us off track.
Screenwriter Paul Laverty, who has worked with Loac for decades, believes that the modern working life, where more and more jobs are without permanent employment, has become like tap water where employers can include labor when they need it and close it again when are satisfied. Chris Hitching, who plays the lead role in "Sorry We Miss You," has his own working-class backgrounds.
He did not think he should do any research to get into the situation of the overwritten messenger driver.
"I already know what's going on in this country," he said.
He points out that the couple in the film are both working full time.
"And yet they are poor," he says.
– And it shouldn't be like that. This is because the system is set up incorrectly. Modern slavery is when it should be said as it is. Working-class people go on an economic mission and feel like giving them freedom and independence and can tell others that they have their own business. But they are selling a lie. It's a tremendous betrayal.
The old conflict
Loach, who has been portraying working-class living since the sixties, doesn't think he's new.
"It's a conflict between employers and workers," he said.
– It's about drawing as much dividend as possible from people. Only the methods change because of technology. When I was in my thirties and forties, we talked about getting used to more free time because we wouldn't work so hard. But everyone knows that it doesn't work. Employers will instead hire fewer people and get them to work harder, with no sick pay, no paid leave, and if you have an accident, then it's your responsibility.
Answers to the indictment
Locke was very critical of claims that there were anti-Semitic trends in Corey's Labor Party. Asked about a discussion of Holocaust denial that allegedly took place at a local labor meeting, Loach responded that history must be questionable, and he himself was accused of anti-Semitism and trivialization of the Holocaust.
The director is visibly put out when Dougbladet asks him about the statements.
"It's funny," he says.
– Of course, the Holocaust happened. None of us would tolerate anyone thinking differently. This makes the extreme right side. This is a case that occurs because some of us were responsible for the Palestinians.
Loah has repeatedly called for a cultural boycott of Israel.
– Because of this, there are people who are not from me for many years, quoted by the Guardian newspaper. I have been attacked and quoted and taken out of context. Who in the world would deny this, and who would give a talk to someone who denies it?
Then he talks about the topic that the protagonists in so many of his films before or from there talk about: Football.
– It's a common language. Whatever you miss in life, you can always talk about football, and if you meet someone you have something to open up about. Where are you from?
Loach is known for directing his actors to extremely vivid and credible interpretations of the role. He himself thinks it has something to do with the method he uses to make films.
"We find people we believe in and always shoot scenes in the correct order," he says.
– And the actors don't know everything in the script. They get real surprises along the way, as they do in this movie. That's what technology is all about. When you think "oh, this was a great scene" you are on the outside of the movie. But the film should make you feel directly connected to what's going on, so forget about the others. It has to look spontaneous.
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