Loach’s Land of Freedom
by Boyd van Hoeij
02/09/2007 - After wining the Palme d’Or in Cannes for his historical war drama The Wind that Shakes the Barley [trailer, film focus], UK filmmaker Ken Loach returns to the present and his social filmmaking roots for his Venice Competition entry It'a Free World… [trailer].
Loach’s film looks at immigrant workers in London through the eyes of British tough girl Angie, who is played by newcomer Kierston Wareing, a stunning-looking attention magnet with little range.
After being fired from a recruitment agency (the height of irony and a nice touch from Loach’s regular screenwriter Paul Laverty), Angie tries to make some money by setting up her own recruitment agency for foreign labourers. Though swearing to do everything legally, things quickly go from bad to worse as Angie slips into exploiting the very people she initially wanted to help.
The film does not want to offer any moral judgement on Angie’s actions, the director explained, but instead judges “the system in which she flourishes. We want to challenge this prevailing wisdom that ruthless entrepreneurship is the way this society should develop”.
The various themes treated here have surfaced in some of Loach’s other films, including Bread and Roses, Ae Fond Kiss and The Navigators. In this sense, the film deepens the director’s organic oeuvre with a new entry that crystallises ideas that have been floating around for some time.
The film was shot in London, Kiev and Katowice, Poland and was produced by Sixteen Films together with BIM Distribuzione, EMC Produktion, Tornasol Films, SPI International and Film4 and the backing of Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, MEDIA and The Polish Film Institute. Pathé Pictures handles sales.