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DVD Talk review of 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley'

Old 10-13-07, 09:13 AM
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DVD Talk review of 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley'

I read Svet Atanasov's DVD review of The Wind That Shakes the Barley at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=30947 and... I was confused and surprised by Atanasov's closing comment that "Aside from Francois Ozon I consider Ken Loach to be the most distinguished director of my generation."

I do not think I understand what Atanasov means when he talks of his generation. Ken Loach was born in 1936 and began directing in the early 60's, while Francois Ozon was born in 1967 and began directing in the late 80's. When Atanasov refers to his generation is he referring to persons born between 1936-1967, or just those old enough to have seen Ken Loach’s first theatrical releases Poor Cow (1967) and Kes (1969) during their first run? In either case, that takes in a lot of great directors, for example, Wong Kar-Wai, Michael Haneke, Mike Leigh, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Lars von Trier, Aleksandr Sokurov, Ming-liang Tsai, Hirokazu Koreeda, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Anh Hung Tran, Abbas Kiarostami, Jim Jarmusch, and Krzysztof Kieslowski, as well as a lot of directors acclaimed by Hollywood, merit notwithstanding, for example, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, etc., etc.

Is Atanasov truly saying he regards Ozon and Loach as more "distinguished" than all of the directors I cited above, or do I misunderstand him, and if he is saying that, what does he mean by "distinguished" anyway?

Last edited by Yakuza Bengoshi; 10-13-07 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 10-13-07, 11:41 AM
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Perhaps Svet was just using "my generation" loosely to refer to master filmmakers currently working and "distinguished" to mean "at the peak of their creative powers." If so, I'm inclined to agree. Loach has always been an innovative and challenging director, but he's really entered a golden age in the past ten years -- since he started collaborating with writer Paul Laverty. Whether he's more "distinguished" than the other directors you listed, Y.B., I don't know, but Wind was probably the best film I've seen in the theater this year. At the very least, Loach belongs to a rare group of master directors who has done possibly his best work since he passed 65. It reminds me a bit of Bunuel's late collaborations with Jean-Claude Carriere.

Last edited by Ambassador; 10-13-07 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 10-13-07, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Yakuza Bengoshi
I read Svet Atanasov's DVD review of The Wind That Shakes the Barley at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=30947 and... I was confused and surprised by Atanasov's closing comment that "Aside from Francois Ozon I consider Ken Loach to be the most distinguished director of my generation."

I do not think I understand what Atanasov means when he talks of his generation. Ken Loach was born in 1936 and began directing in the early 60's, while Francois Ozon was born in 1967 and began directing in the late 80's. When Atanasov refers to his generation is he referring to persons born between 1936-1967, or just those old enough to have seen Ken Loach’s first theatrical releases Poor Cow (1967) and Kes (1969) during their first run? In either case, that takes in a lot of great directors, for example, Wong Kar-Wai, Michael Haneke, Mike Leigh, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Lars von Trier, Aleksandr Sokurov, Ming-liang Tsai, Hirokazu Koreeda, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Anh Hung Tran, Abbas Kiarostami, Jim Jarmusch, and Krzysztof Kieslowski, as well as a lot of directors acclaimed by Hollywood, merit notwithstanding, for example, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, etc., etc.

Is Atanasov truly saying he regards Ozon and Loach as more "distinguished" than all of the directors I cited above, or do I misunderstand him, and if he is saying that, what does he mean by "distinguished" anyway?
Hello Yakuza:


I grouped Ozon and Loach together precisely because I consider them to be currently the two leading directors in world cinema.

I am a big fan of Haneke for example but he has hardly been as innovative as Loach has been. Hanake's work, as is Dardenne's work for example, has always been confined within the genre limitations he favors: from Benny's Video to Cache the path he has followed is more than predictable. Trier and Sokurov have not been as consistent as Loach and Ozon and their festival appearances lately were hardly a success (you could make a point here that Ozon's My Angel is a step back as well and will most likely have to agree with you). Tsai and Koreeda on the other hand do not yet have the record Loach does, etc.

As Ambassador rightfully pointed out the "generation"-comment was simply a summation meant to highlight the fact that this is clearly Loach's time. He has been as good as ever and as I noted in the review The Wind... is arguably his best work to date.

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Old 10-13-07, 04:40 PM
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I'm a big fan of Loach too (in fact, I've just now walked in from seeing Poor Cow and Land and Freedom at the AFI Silver), but I didn't see a clear connection to Ozon whom I see as of a different generation and skill level than Loach. Thanks for the comments and clarification.

Last edited by Yakuza Bengoshi; 10-13-07 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 10-15-07, 04:08 PM
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Can anyone recommend another good Loach film on DVD? I am having a difficult time finding anything besides "The Wind That Shakes The Barley"
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Old 10-16-07, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by macnorton
Can anyone recommend another good Loach film on DVD? I am having a difficult time finding anything besides "The Wind That Shakes The Barley"
Two boxsets of his work were just released in the past month or so in the UK, and they cover most of the high points of his entire career (with a few omissions). If you don't have multi-region access, you might aim for a few individual titles available here in the U.S. Sweet Sixteen, in particular, is a very good place to start. It's one of the best depictions of teenage angst ever captured on film. And in its depiction of modern-day working-class social conditions, it's much more typical of Loach's work than the period-piece Wind That Shakes the Barley.
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Old 10-16-07, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ambassador
Two boxsets of his work were just released in the past month or so in the UK, and they cover most of the high points of his entire career (with a few omissions). If you don't have multi-region access, you might aim for a few individual titles available here in the U.S. Sweet Sixteen, in particular, is a very good place to start. It's one of the best depictions of teenage angst ever captured on film. And in its depiction of modern-day working-class social conditions, it's much more typical of Loach's work than the period-piece Wind That Shakes the Barley.
Very cool...I will have to check these boxsets out (my player is Region Free). Thanks for the recommendation.
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Old 10-16-07, 07:52 PM
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macnorton, I don't know if you ever use Netflix, but they have six Ken Loach films besides Wind that Shakes the Barley. Might be worth checking out before blind buying an 8-disc box set, unfortunately, they don't offer either of the films I'd most recommend, Land and Freedom or Kes.
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Old 10-17-07, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Ambassador
Sweet Sixteen, .
I have to strongly agree! Nicely done and a surprisingly good looking, progressive, R1 disc.

If region-free as Yakuza pointed out, definitely check out KES. The UK disc is a bit on a duff-y side but what can you do.

Also I must strongly recommend Raining Stones. The pic is delirious, probably the funniest Loach I have seen. I could not stop thinking...o, I know what John Crowley (Intermission) saw here and I know who he was imitating.

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Old 10-17-07, 03:32 PM
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Another vote for Land of Freedom. As for "Wind", I don't believe it's Loach's best film. IMHO, the first part (the slow rise of the resistance movement) is much better than the second part (from the signature of the treaty). Thankfully, the film picks up again for the tragic denouement.

And I will have to respectfully disagree with Pro-B about Ozon. Although I've enjoyed a number a his films to varying degrees, I find his body of work to be terribly inconsistent. He hardly belongs in the same category of filmmakers as Loach or most of the directors Yakuza mentionned.
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