Iconic British director Ken Loach has announced his retirement from filmmaking. The director, who turns 87 in June, announced his likely retirement in an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter. This news comes ahead of his latest, and possibly last, The Old Oak‘s premiere at the annual Cannes Film Festival. This will be Loach‘s 15th film to premiere at the festival.
“[R]ealistically,” Loach said, speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, “it would be hard to do a feature film again.” He continued, noting that “[f]ilms take a couple of years and I’ll be nearly 90.” He went on to note the complexities of aging within the craft of filmmaking, saying that “…your facilities do decline. Your short-term memory goes and my eyesight is pretty rubbish now, so it’s quite tricky.”
This is not the first time that Loach has ‘retired’, however. In 2014, when he brought his film Jimmy’s Hall to Cannes, he pronounced that the film would be his last. This retirement was broken, however, after the election of a Conservative Government in the UK in 2015. The new government cut social benefits, a move that Loach strongly opposed. This move led Loach to make his 2016 film I, Daniel Blake, which garnered Loach his second Palme d’Or. He won his first Palme d’Or for his 2006 film The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
Ken Loach Has Had a Long and Accomplished Career
Loach began his career in the 1960s, making televised plays for the BBC. He began making films in 1967 with his film Poor Cow. But it was his 1969 film Kes which cemented his reputation as a filmmaker. Kes tells the story of a young boy growing up in a coal mining town. The film has been ranked as one of the greatest British films of the 20th century by the British Film Institute.
His latest, and perhaps final project, The Old Oak tells the story of a pub in decline in Northeast England. The town was once a mining town, but since the closure of the mines, has been left mostly empty, making it perhaps an ideal landing spot for Syrian refugees. Never one to shy away from social issues, Loach‘s newest film will take a sharp look at the strength of community.
The Old Oak will make its premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which is set to begin on May 16, 2023. The festival will run through May 27, 2023.