WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 29-September 4, 2011)

MEDIA

Ken Loach’s Save the Children: the film that bit the hand that fed it; BFI Southbank is marking the director’s 75th birthday with the unveiling of his controversial 1969 documentary, which the children’s charity funded but then wanted banned.” By Peter Bradshaw. Guardian. September 1, 2011. This month, BFI Southbank in London marks Ken Loach’s 75th birthday, and his 50 years in the business, with a colossal new retrospective. The centre-piece is perhaps the unveiling of his “lost” 1969 television documentary, partly bankrolled by the Save the Children charity. It is an exhilarating experience. Perhaps Loach scholars will come to see it as an early, brutalist masterpiece, uncompromisingly angry and disdainful. Never in the history of documentary film-making was the feeding hand bitten so spectacularly, so gloriously. To say that the Save the Children charity come badly out of the film, which they themselves had bankrolled, was the understatement of 1969, or any year. After a ferocious legal row, Save the Children actually demanded Loach’s film be banned. Loach and his producer Tony Garnett finally negotiated a compromise: the unfinished film would be stored in the BFI National Archive until such time as the charity gave its permission for it to be screened. This it has now done, 42 years after the event, and it will be shown in its raw state, with no titles or credits, and without a title – although I think “Save the Children” would be good.

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