Saturday, 19 November 2016

Film No. 70 (2016) I, Daniel Blake November 14th.

Film No. 70 (2016) November 14th.  6.45 PM LUNA Paradiso, Northbridge.

"You've got nothing to be ashamed of, you're all alone with two kids, you're amazing" (Daniel (Dave Johns) reassures Katie (Hayley Squires) that she is skilled in her quest to make a life for herself and her kids).

Ken Loach turned eighty in June. Many thought he had directed his last film in Jimmy Hall, two years ago. Thank the heavens that this was not fact. If it were, he would not have delivered I, Daniel Blake to us in 2016.It won the Palme D'or and there were many tweets at the time that it was not deserving of this honour. I beg to differ, I, Daniel Blake is an outstanding film.  

Tis the season to be merry so, most films in the next month will depict a bunch of silly characters (either animated or as good as) in contrived pieces leading to a standard, predictable happy ending. So why recommend, I, Daniel Blake as a must see film just prior to Christmas? The reason; it will stir your conscience and the want to give to people and causes who don't have the same opportunity or money that we do, will be heightened. It's a hard-hearted, middle class westerner who walks from a screening of I, Daniel Blake not feeling deeply affected.

In the words of Ken Loach, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) represents decency, a quality possessed by the vast majority of people. When decent people are restricted in the way they live their lives through no fault of their own, in a system which ceases to care, then film can serve a purpose to deliver a strong message. In I, Daniel Blake, Loach delivers that message in spades. It's the simple images of Blake on the phone, endlessly on hold or Katie, breaking down in a food bank and being reassured by Daniel that she is a skilled mother.

When the film starts, Daniel Blake has recently lost his wife, which may have aggravated a heart condition, rendering him unfit for work. To get a pension, he will need to prove to bureaucracy (The Decision Maker) that he is eligible and that is no easy task. Loach weaves a second family, Katie (Hayley Squires), Daisy (Briana Shann) and Dylan (Dylan McKiernan)into Dan's life simply and with heart. All are fighting for survival in the suburbs of North East England. The Decision Maker holds the key to their survival. Is this a moral system?  11GUMS. 



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