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Lauded British director and DiEM25 member, Ken Loach, was awarded his second Palme d’Or last night at the Cannes Film Festival for I, Daniel Blake.
The film, which portrays a disabled man’s struggle with England’s social welfare system, heralds Loach’s long time preoccupation with social politics.
In his acceptance speech, Loach praised the festival for supporting “a cinema to represent the integrates of the people against those who are powerful and mighty.”
Loach previously won the award in 2006 for his war drama The Wind that Shakes the Barley.
DiEM25 co-founder, Yanis Varoufakis, celebrated Loach’s accomplishment: “Ken Loach’s films have been exemplars of progressive politics and anti-establishment aesthetics for many years. Speaking personally, from the time I watched his Raining Stones to this day, my thinking about a world degenerating under the cloud of neoliberalism has been influenced dramatically by Loach’s incisive eye. Today we celebrate not only another great film by Ken Loach but also the fact that such a diatribe on the ills of austerity was recognised at Cannes. This is important because Europe is disintegrating as a result of austerity’s triumphant march throughout the continent. DiEM25 was founded in response to this austerity-fueled disintegration. And Ken Loach was there on our first day, agreeing to be a signatory of the DiEM25 manifesto and a founding DiEM25 member. Congratulations Ken.”
“There is a conscious cruelty in the way that we are organising our lives now, where the most vulnerable people are told that their poverty is their own fault,” Loach stated earlier in the festival. “If you have no work it’s your fault you haven’t got a job. Never mind in Britain, there is mass unemployment throughout Europe.”
The 79-year-old director is now one of the only nine filmmakers to have been awarded the Cannes Festival top prize twice.