“Riff Raff” turns 30, a cutting-edge examination of the proletariat in the film that Ken Loach relaunched

June 21, 2021 – 08:10

Presented in Cannes, the film was released in British cinemas on 21 June 1991, after the difficult Thatcher years. Cast of strangers (except Robert Carlyle) and beautiful soundtrack contributed to the success

of Filippo Mazzarella

Presented only the month before in competition at the Cannes Film Festival (where strangely it won nothing more than the Fipresci prize, or that of the international film press), “Riff-Raff – Better to lose them than find them” of the teacher Ken Loach began its successful run in English cinemas on 21 June 1991 (with us after the summer, in October). The Major government had recently taken office in the United Kingdom after almost 12 “difficult” years (to this day the longest term in British history) in which to hold the office of Prime Minister was Margaret Thatcher. After the glories of “1968” (“Poor Cow”, “Kes”), the director’s film career had suffered a kind of setback (two films during the entire seventies, only three in the following decade) caused by his commitments mainly television or documentary. But with the (unfortunately) forgotten thriller “Hidden Agenda” (1990), born like so many of his works also under the sign of a reaction to the politics of the Iron Lady, his career took off. Favorite of festivals, but also politically “high” author perfectly usable by all audiences, he began to overturn his commitment in a series of masterpieces, this time almost annually: this film was followed by the acclaimed “Piovono stones” (1993 ), “Ladybird Ladybird” (1994), “Land and freedom” (1995), “Carla’s song” (1996) and “My Name is Joe” (1998), just to limit ourselves to the titles of the nineties. And even today, at 85, Loach has no intention of letting go; nor to stop adding pieces to a corpus which, seen as a whole, is the highest form of “proletarian” comedie humaine ever expressed by British cinema.

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Ken Loach, a festival favorite

June 21, 2021 | 08:10

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