Ken Loach has become the director par excellance in Britain. Often unjustly compared for Mike Leigh, Loach does not patronise his subjects (unlike Leigh, whose films portray the worst stereotypes and show an incredible level of laziness)instead the camera takes a back seat alowing the story to unfold.
Ladybird, Ladybird is the greatest example of this technique. Loach points the camera and has enough faith in the actors to give what is needed.
For me, this is the film that shows Loach at his very best. The story seems rather humdrum: battered wife stuggles against the authorities and wins the battle in the end. The actors in this film carry the story. Crissy Rock is outstanding and gives one of the most convincing and horrific performances I have seen. Ray Winstone is superb as the brutal partner but also creates a feeling of vulnerability (Loach seems to have it in for most of the 'Southeners' in this film). Vladimir Vega is also outstanding and provides a very realistic portrayal of a refugee's life.
The film can be viewed on many levels. For me it shows the greatness of the human spirit.
One finds little sympathy for the authorities: the social workers and the police.
At a time when parents are under attack and professionals dictate every aspect of child rearing, this film flies in the face of what is taken for granted these days.
Ladybird, Ladybird is Loach at his most controversial since the groundbreaking 'Cathy Come Home', which rocked the establishment with its portrayal of homelessness in the 1960s.
As with all his films, Loach allows the voices to speak for themselves and in doing so, allows the films to be non-judgemental. This is what makes his films so powerful and what makes ladybird, Ladybird such a harrowing film.Paranoid Parenting: Why Ignoring the Experts May Be Best for Your ChildReclaiming ChildhoodThe Ken Loach Collection Volume 1 [DVD] [1967
]The Ken Loach Collection Volume 2 [DVD] [1965