qathet film festival 2024
The Old Oak
Friday March 1 — 7 pm
Opening Party 6 pm
Featuring “Old Enough to Know Better”
On opening night local actor and star Kymo Van Oers will introduce the short film Cloud Striker, along with director A.W. Hopkins. Kymo can tell us about fighting back in this historical film on Residential School abuse.
The Old Oak is Ken Loach’s fierce call for compassion and solidarity. At 87 years old, in what he says is his last film, the famous director wants his audience to think the unthinkable and rediscover a shared core of humanity. It’s the story of a village in the Northeast of England, where the mine closed, and people feel deserted by the system. Many young ones have left and what was once a thriving, proud community struggles to keep old values alive. But there is growing anger, resentment, and a lack of hope. The year is 2016 and the locals of this unnamed northeastern town are taken aback when a bus full of Syrian refugees arrives.
Every morning, pub landlord Tommy Joe Ballantyne (Dave Turner), the hero of the film, tries to fix the comically wonky sign outside his premises and opens the doors of The Old Oak. TJ, as the regulars call him, is divorced, estranged from his adult son, and of two minds about hanging around the former mining town where he tends bar. Few directors navigate grey zones as well as Loach for whom conflicting emotions, competing motives and the agony and necessity of personal compromise have long been the mainstay of his formidable filmography.
Loach has sought out the painful and unfashionable subjects, marching to where the gunfire has been loudest. With I, Daniel Blake it was the vivisectional experiment of austerity; with Sorry We Missed You it was the serfdom of the gig economy. Now, in The Old Oak, it is the refugees housed in hostels all over the UK who are being abused and attacked by local people radicalised by social media.
Dave Turner, Ebla Mari, Claire Rodgerson, Trevor Fox, Chris McGlade, Col Tait, Jordan Louis, Chrissie Robinson, Chris Gotts, Jen Patterson, Arthur Oxley , Joe Armstrong, Andy Dawson, Maxie Peters, Debbie Honeywood, and Neil Leiper
Country of Origin:
Director Alan Hopkins
Set in Western Canada in the 1930s, the Chief of an Indian Band rides for days to a Residential School to reclaim his son from church authorities.