Ken Loach says new film may be his last feature

May 5, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: The Guardian (by Andrew Pulver).

Ken Loach has said that his new film, The Old Oak, is likely to be his last and that the prospect of another feature would be like “an old nag at the Grand National”.

In an article in the Hollywood Reporter Loach, 86, said: “I’m just not sure I can get around the court again. It’s like an old nag at the Grand National. You think: ‘Good God, I’ll be falling at the first fence!”

He added: “Films take a couple of years and I’ll be nearly 90. And your facilities do decline. Your short-term memory goes and my eyesight is pretty rubbish now, so it’s quite tricky.”

The Old Oak is premiering at the Cannes film festival in May, the 15th of Loach’s films to do so. Starring Dave Turner and Ebla Mari, and written by Loach’s regular collaborator Paul Laverty, it is set in north-east England and revolves around a pub in a former mining community.

Loach has been particularly successful at Cannes, winning the Palme d’Or twice – in 2006 for The Wind That Shakes the Barley and in 2016 for I, Daniel Blake – and a string of other prizes, including the jury prize in 1993 for Raining Stones and 2012 for The Angels’ Share, and the Fipresci award three times (for Black Jack in 1979, Riff-Raff in 1991, and Land and Freedom in 1995).

Loach appeared to be on the verge of retirement in 2013, after his producer Rebecca O’Brien suggested that Jimmy’s Hall, Loach’s biopic of Irish communist James Gralton, would be his last feature film. Loach, however, did not down tools, and went on to complete I, Daniel Blake – which became a surprise commercial hit as well as a festival award-winner, and gig-economy drama Sorry We Missed You.

The Hollywood Reporter quote Loach as suggesting he may no longer have the “nervous emotional energy” to lead a feature film shoot, but Laverty says Loach may be open to making a documentary. “That wouldn’t be so absolutely overwhelming,” Laverty said. “But I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t do something. I think it’s in his blood really. And he’s still got lots to say.”

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