THE OLD OAK
From his 1969 breakout KES to later masterworks like I, DANIEL BLAKE (PFF25) and SORRY WE MISSED YOU (PFF28), director Ken Loach has done more than perhaps any other filmmaker to shape the identity of British realist cinema. With his latest (and supposedly final) film, Loach interrogates the British identity with which he’s so closely associated. THE OLD OAK takes its name from the last pub in a decaying mining village in England’s hard-hit Northeast, owned and operated by TJ Ballantyne (Dave Turner). Steeped in the ethos of working-class solidarity, TJ is aggrieved when some of his loyal customers give into anti-immigrant hostility after a busload of Syrian refugees arrives in town. TJ strikes up a warm friendship with one of the newcomers, a gifted photographer named Yara (Ebla Mari), and the two dream of a way to bring together the town’s longtime residents and new arrivals. Supported by the richly lived-in performances of his mostly non-professional cast, Loach has crafted a heartfelt and politically impassioned plea for empathy in the face of prejudice and fear.
CAST: Dave Turner, Ebla Mari, Claire Rodgerson, Trevor Fox
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