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I, Daniel Blake


Film Night at Clayhidon  Parish Hall (EX15 3PL)

I, Daniel Blake (15)

Friday 13 January 2017, 7.30pm


Film director Ken Loach is best when he's angry, and boy was he mad when he made 'I,Daniel Blake', the first of our new season of films at Clayhidon Parish Hall! It's a heart-rending tale of the humiliations inflicted by the benefits bureaucracy on two people who are down on their luck.

Like Marmite,  you're either going to love this or hate it. The Daily Mail thought it was leftie rubbish, but other critics raved about it and it and the Cannes Film Festival  judges awarded it the Palme d'Or.  Judge for yourself on Friday 13 January at 7.30.There'll be ice cream, a licensed bar and no doubt plenty to talk about afterwards.

Daniel Blake is a 2016 drama directed by Ken Loach and written by Loach's frequent collaborator Paul Laverty. The film stars Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Dylan McKiernan, and Briana Shann. It won the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and the Prix du public at the 2016 Locarno International Film Festival.

Daniel Blake is a 59-year-old joiner living in Newcastle, who has had a heart attack at work. His cardiologist tells him that he is not ready to go back to work.
But when he applies for sickness benefit he is told he is fit to work. The film tells the story of his battles with a faceless bureaucratic system and also of his friendship with someone else struggling through life,  single mother Katie and her two children.

This searing drama  wowed the judges at the Cannes Film Festival but has divided the critics  here in the UK.

What the critics said

Robbie Collin, writing in The Telegraph, called it “a quietly fearsome piece of drama”.  He felt there was too much rhetoric, but added: “When the film eases off the rhetoric and deigns to show rather than tell, though, it’s wildly more effective. An unshakeable sequence in a food bank knocks you flat twice – firstly in the unsentimental way it reveals how the place works, and again when it shows what a hungry and desperate woman might feel driven to do there.” >Click for Telegraph review


Mark Kermode, writing in The Guardian, said it packed a hefty punch, both personal and political. “On one level, it is a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers – neoliberal 1984 meets uncaring, capitalist Catch-22. On another, it is a celebration of the decency and kinship of (extra)ordinary people who look out for each other when the state abandons its duty of care.”
>Click for Guardian review


Toby Young, writing in the Daily Mail, poured scorn on it: “Loach’s indictment of Tory Britain certainly packs a punch if you can make it to the end of his 140-minute civics lesson. But don’t call it ‘social realism’. Judging by its misty-eyed, laughably inaccurate portrait of benefits Britain, it should be called a ‘romantic comedy’.>Click for Daily Mail review