1945 was a pivotal year in British history. The unity that carried Britain through the war allied to the bitter memories of the inter-war years led to a vision of a better society. The spirit of the age was to be our brother's and our sister's keeper. Director Ken Loach has used film from Britain's regional and national archives, alongside sound recordings and contemporary interviews to create a rich political and social narrative. The Spirit of '45 hopes to illuminate and celebrate a period of unprecedented community spirit in the UK, the impact of which endured for many years and which may yet be rediscovered today.
I found this unexpectedly moving
- The Spirit of '45 review by RP
(1) of (1) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 4
I found this film unexpectedly moving. It's a documentary film directed by Ken Loach that tells a (quite partial) social history of Britain focussing on achievements of the post-war Atlee government and its creation of the NHS, the nationalisation of industries left rudderless after the war effort, and a major house building programme. It then contrasts this with the incoming Thatcher government in 1979, seen as a marker for the end of the political post-war consensus, followed by the dismantling of much of the welfare state.
The film is told through interviews and personal accounts and without commentary and I found it both powerful and moving. Ken Loach is well known as being 'on the left' and his films often have a clear socio-political message, usually to the effect that the working man is a victim of 'the system' - and this is no exception.
Clearly the world has moved on from the post-war years but much of the privatisation of the once-nationalised industries is rightly regarded as a bit of a mixed bag and with some suspicion, from the now even more heavily subsidised railway operators, the partial privatisation of the NHS with the increased inefficiency of a silly 'internal market', through to what is perhaps most disastrous of all: the complete lack of any coherent future energy planning - not everything can be left to 'the market'.
This is a film that bears the stamp of the director's political viewpoint. What it does attempt to do - and I think it succeeds - is to put the point that we achieve more by consensus and working together than we do by our own individual efforts.
The film is a timely reminder of what we once had and how the country has changed - and not necessarily for the better. 4/5 stars. Highly recommended.