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Ken Loach to Receive Berlin Fest’s Golden Bear

German festival to screen 10 films in homage

LONDON — The Berlin Film Festival is to award the honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement to British director Ken Loach, and will also stage a 10-film homage to the helmer.

The award ceremony will be accompanied by a screening of his 1993 pic “Raining Stones.”

Ken Loach is one of Europe’s great directors. Over his almost 50-year career, he has shown an extraordinary degree of continuity, while remaining innovative at all times,” Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick said.

“His profound interest in people and their individual fates, as well as his critical commitment to society have found expression in a variety of cinematic approaches.

“We are honoring Ken Loach as a director and greatly admire him for how he reflects on social injustices with humor in his films.”

Loach’s breakthrough as a director came with BBC drama “Cathy Come Home” in 1966, which centered on a young working-class family’s slide into homelessness. Twelve million viewers, a quarter of the British population, watched the film when it was first broadcast, and it sparked a national debate about government policy.

Loach’s second feature, “Kes” (1969), brought him to the attention of international cinemagoers. The story of an imaginative teen and his kestrel is one of the key works of social realism in European cinema.

Loach’s films during the Margaret Thatcher era highlighted the effects of her policies on working-class people. “Raining Stones” (1993) tells the story of an unemployed father who struggles to maintain his dignity, while “Ladybird Ladybird” (1994) is about a mother who is betrayed by those who should help her.

“My Name Is Joe” (1998) portrays a love story between an ex-con and a social worker, and “The Navigators” (2001) focuses on how the solidarity of railway workers is tested by the privatization of the rail network.

Other notable pics include “Land and Freedom” (1995), which takes audiences back to the time of the Spanish Civil War, while alluding to parallels in present-day Britain, “Sweet Sixteen” (2002), which is a portrayal of a youth who turns into a ruthless drug dealer, and “Looking for Eric” (2009), a comedy about an unemployed mailman and an ex-soccer star.

Films in the homage will include:
“Cathy Come Home” (1966)
“Kes” (1969)
“The Gamekeeper” (1980)
“Raining Stones” (1993)
“Ladybird Ladybird” (1994)
“Land and Freedom” (1995)
“My Name Is Joe” (1998)
“The Navigators” (2001)
“Sweet Sixteen” (2002)
“Looking for Eric” (2009)

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