The film-making career of director Ken Loach is to be celebrated with a six-week series of screenings – including the showing of a controversial documentary that has been unseen for four decades.Oh?
The Bath film-maker made a film about a Save the Children project in 1969 but the charity has until now blocked its transmission.Interesting…
The film was shot in the UK and Kenya by Loach’s production company Kestrel Films, and covers a Save the Children holiday home in Essex and a project for homeless children in Nairobi.Which didn’t go down too well with Save The Children, as you might imagine.
The British scenes feature criticism of deprived children’s parents and suggest youngsters wetting the bed are given cold baths, while political activists are shown criticising the colonial approach to education – including the banning of any native language – in Kenya.
Save the Children was unhappy with the content of the film and persuaded LWT not to broadcast it. However, Loach and Garnett refused to hand over the negative and the dispute went to court where it was decided that the film should not be destroyed, but that all the material should be sent to the archive on condition that it would not be shown without Save The Children’s written approval.Yes, well, that was the past, and they did things differently then.
We all know that. What’s the point in showing it now?
Mr Loach told the Daily Mail: “We knew we were making a film that was contentious. We weren’t there to do a PR job.But since we do have the benefit of that hindsight, what’s the point in re-hashing it?
“Save The Children thought that we were on the side of the angels and, without any self-awareness, they felt they were too.
“The bigotry, particularly with the benefit of hindsight of 40 years, is just intolerable.”
What’s in it for the charity?
Recently-appointed charity chief executive Justin Forsyth said: “I am pleased we have belatedly allowed this film to be shown after 40 years. It raises important questions about power, colonialism and charity that are still relevant today. I am enormously proud of the work Save the Children does in the UK and around the world. We save millions of children’s lives and help millions more fulfil their potential, and expect to be scrutinised and challenged to do the best possible job.”It seems nothing, other than a chance to grovel in front of the great and good at a charity event, eagerly abase oneself and disclaim loudly how awful the West was, and wait for the cheques from other self-haters to flood in…