Ken Loach Collection: Volume 1
Over 12 hours of intense and ground-breaking drama from one of Britain's greatest living directors. In Loach's debut feature, 'Poor Cow' (1968), young mother Joy (Carol White) is forced to fend for herself when her brutal and uncaring husband, Tom (John Bindon), is put in jail. Joy finds brief happiness with Tom's criminal associate Dave (Terence Stamp), who proves kind and gentle when she moves in with him, but this relationship ends when he is also jailed, and Joy is left to raise her young son alone in squalid circumstances. 'Kes' (1969), arguably Loach's best-loved film, is based on the novel by Barry Hines. Billy is a young boy (David Bradley) living in a working-class Northern town, who finds a baby falcon which he cares for and trains. His new hobby offers him respite from boredom and the bullying he receives at school, but he continues to suffer at the hands of his delinquent brother Jud (Freddie Fletcher). 'The Gamekeeper' (1980), also based on a novel by Barry Hines, tells the simple tale of a year in the life of a gamekeeper, detailing the challenges involved in rearing pheasants, dealing with predators (poachers and foxes), and preparing for the annual shooting party. In the comedy drama 'Riff Raff' (1990), former jailbird Stevie (Robert Carlyle) travels to London, finds work on a building site, and sets up home in an abandoned flat. One day he discovers a handbag in a skip and returns it to its owner, the would-be singer Susan (Emer McCourt). The pair begin a romance, but Susan's drug use soon puts a strain on their relationship and an accident at work, caused by the building company's unscrupulous cost-cutting, brings tensions to a head. 'Raining Stones' (1993) is another hard-hitting story of inner-city poverty. Unemployed and penniless, Bob (Bruce Jones) is desperate to earn enough money to pay for his daughter Coleen's (Gemma Phoenix) communion dress. Unable to raise the cash any other way, he ends up borrowing from a vicious loan shark who then proceeds to terrorise Bob's wife and threaten further violence. As the communion approaches, the family seemed locked into an impossible situation. Liverpudlian stand-up comic Crissy Rock stars in the gritty drama 'Ladybird, Ladybird' (1994) as Maggie Conlon, a downtrodden woman who has had her children taken away by the social services for being an unfit mother. When Maggie meets a kind and gentle Chilean refugee, they become lovers and move in together. The couple start a family, but Maggie's past history with the social services causes problems as it means that their newborn baby is in danger of being taken away. 'Bread and Roses' (2000) tells the story of the struggle of Los Angeles office cleaners against unfair working practices. Newly arrived in the US, Mexican immigrant Maya (Pilar Padilla) begins work for an office cleaning company. One night, while carrying out her duties, she helps union organiser Sam (Adrien Brody) hide from some security guards, and then, after witnessing an elderly worker get the sack for being late, begins helping the union man in his efforts to win justice for the janitors. However, no matter how persuasive Sam's appeals are, Maya's fellow cleaners worry that their decision to fight might jeopardise their livelihoods. 'The Navigators' (2001) is set in and around a South Yorkshire railway depot, and follows what happens to a group of rail workers after the 1995 privatisation of the British rail network. The choice facing the men is clear: they can either carry on working for the depot and see the conditions granted them in their previous labour agreement ignored, or they can take the step into the open market and begin working for an agency. Some of the men take the second option - and soon discover that agency work often falls short of the proper safety standards, creating conditions that soon lead to tragedy for one of their number.