Veteran British filmmaker Ken Loach is set to retire after wrapping up work on his current feature, The Old Oak.
Ken Loach has said that at the grand old age of 87, The Old Oak will probably be the last film that he directs. The project is ‘set and shot in the northeast of England, revolves around the last pub standing in a former mining village that has fallen on hard times after 30 years of decline. The watering hole becomes a hotbed of tension following the arrival of Syrian refugees.’
Loach threatened retirement back in 2014 before returning with I, Daniel Blake, one of the most compelling films of his career. Then we’re pretty sure he said the same after bringing Sorry We Missed You to Cannes. Luckily for us, he changed his mind on each occasion, returning to directing to create a brace of searing films critiquing aspects of UK society, from the failings of the welfare state to the shortcomings of the gig economy.
Loach has spoken about stepping back from filmmaking after The Old Oak premieres at this year’s Cannes, saying “films take a couple of years and I’ll be nearly 90,” he said. “And your facilities do decline. Your short-term memory goes and my eyesight is pretty rubbish now, so it’s quite tricky.”
Whether he sticks to his promise this time remains to be seen, but whenever Loach does decide to draw the curtain on a long career, he will leave behind a body of work that will sit high in the canon of great British cinema and has spanned some 60 years. That’s quite an achievement.
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