Archive of films Land and Freedom / Land and Freedom
United Kingdom / Spain / Germany / Italy / France
1995, 110 min
Section: 30 Years of the European Film Academy
Ken Loach always chooses an arduous path in his effort to honestly arrive at the truest understanding. His view of the bloody conflict between Republican and Francoist forces is far from the traditional and simplistic notion of the Spanish Civil War, and his hero, a young British Communist named David fighting as a volunteer for the Republicans, loses many an illusion.
The soldiers who fought in the Spanish Civil War are gradually dying out and boxes of old photographs can’t really help their descendants piece together what happened back then, nor give any indication of how the bloody conflict affected those who were caught up in it. As the film endeavours to reconstruct these very questions, its politico-historical line is deftly interwoven with the personal and emotional strands of the story. Just before his death, David vividly recalls the fierce fighting between the Francoist and Republican forces, and how, as a fervent British Communist, he had volunteered to go over to fight alongside the Republicans. The brutal war took its toll and ultimately compelled him to alter his convictions. Loach’s film is of exceptional value in that it constructs a comprehensive series of specific and detailed situations to highlight the need to re-examine the past and the established half-truths about the way we created it. The perspective of protagonist David, a man with deep political and social concerns, provides the ideal tool to fulfil this objective.
About the director
Ken Loach (b. 1936, Nuneaton, UK), even back in the early days of Kes (1969; KVIFF Crystal Globe in 1970), appeared to audiences as a perceptive observer of social differences. In his ethical stance and poetic vision he harks back to the voices of the “angry young men”; he is sympathetic towards outsiders largely from working-class backgrounds who, in different ways and often unsuccessfully, try to escape their bleak social destiny. He is well able accurately to portray characters and situations as specific types (Land and Freedom, 1995; I, Daniel Blake, 2016), and in his best work he proves himself a master of psychological depiction (My Name Is Joe, 1998) and a director with a sense of humour (Looking for Eric, 2009; The Angels’ Share, 2012). Loach’s films have garnered many of the highest awards at festivals in Cannes, Venice and Berlin, and at Britain’s BAFTAs. Land and Freedom won the EFA’s European Film of the Year award in 1995.
About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Section:||30 Years of the European Film Academy|
|Dir. of Photography:||Barry Ackroyd|
|Art Director:||Martin Johnson|
|Production:||Parallax Pictures, Messidor Films, Road Movies Dritte|
|Cast:||Ian Hart, Icíar Bollaín, Tom Gilroy, Paul Laverty, Rosana Pastor|
|Sales:||The Works Film Group|