As our world grows more dysfunctional there appears to be a corresponding upsurge in control freakery of all kinds – focus groups, market researchers, spin doctors and the like. Uncertain times naturally breed a desire for commercial safety but what is designed to please everybody often ends up delighting nobody. A formula movie composed by committee might tick generic response boxes but most likely lacks the art to stir and inspire audiences – an art that can only arise when film-makers who have real flair and passion are given their heads.
Such art is often controversial but controversy is the mark of a mature community and we should beware a situation where creative freedoms are constrained in the interests of mere uniformity. Socially-aware cinema has always given a voice to those in our society who may otherwise struggle to be heard.
For that reason I can thoroughly recommend Sorry We Missed You, the latest offering from veteran director Ken Loach who at the age of 83 has lost none of his fire and crusading spirit. It’s the touching and often intensely moving story of an ordinary family caught up in the gig economy. More than one commentator has observed it should be required viewing before the UK election of 12 December. At any rate, laughter and tears were never far apart in what I found to be a deeply cathartic experience.
To end on a lighter note, I’ve just watched this documentary on the making of A Hard Day’s Night. Lasting less than 40 minutes, it’s an engaging and often joyful insight into more innocent and optimistic times (sigh!) when even the suits would risk giving genuine talent a free rein. Hard to believe now that they went about it in such a haphazard and ramshackle way – though somewhat easier, especially after watching this, to understand how it all somehow succeeded!