The awards for this year’s Cannes Film Festival have been announced, with British director Ken Loach walking away with the Palme d’Or for his film ‘I, Daniel Blake’.
It’s the second time Loach. 79, has won the festival’s prestigious prize, with his 2006 film ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’ also scooping the award.
Loach has had a lengthy, notable career and has appeared at the star-studded event in Cannes an incredible 13 times - clearly not an unlucky number for the Kent-born director.
‘I, Daniel Blake’ stars first-time feature film actor (and stand-up comedian) Dave Johns and is set in Newcastle around a carpenter who, after suffering a heart attack, is unable to work. However, he’s subsequently declared fit for work and gets his benefits cut - the film documents his life as he struggles to feed himself and survive.
Ken Loach is renowned for tackling very real, raw, working-class stories, with acclaimed titles such as ‘Kes’, ‘Sweet Sixteen’, ‘The Angel’s Share’, and ‘Jimmy’s Hall’ to his name; his latest is painfully and brutally topical in modern day Britain.
Upon accepting his award, the director voiced his concern regarding poverty and the dangers of austerity, saying: “We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible..”
He went on to use the opportunity as his chance to give his thoughts on the current UK climate.
"The world we live in is at a dangerous point right now. We are in the grip of a dangerous project of austerity driven by ideas that we call neo-liberalism that have brought us to near catastrophe.”
Johns had some heartfelt words to say on the win, too: “I’m a stand-up comic. Working with Ken was just absolutely the most amazing thing and this news that we’ve won the Palme d'Or - I’m just blown away with it.”
‘I, Daniel Blake’ currently has no UK release, but is expected this year some time.
Picture credit: WENN, Sixteen Films