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Monday, 30 September, 2002, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Loach slams 'Hollywood bias'
Ken Loach at Cannes
Loach's new film picked up an award at Cannes
One of the UK's most acclaimed independent film directors, Ken Loach, has called for the UK film industry to stop concentrating on "violent, aggressive, pro-American" movies.

Loach says good home-grown productions are being forced to struggle for attention in UK cinemas against Hollywood blockbusters.


It's like a real restaurant competing with McDonald's

Ken Loach
His latest film, Sweet Sixteen, won the award for best screenplay at Cannes, but has had little hype in his own country.

"If you make films here, there is a kind of subservience towards anything that comes out of the States, whether it's Blair and politics or whether it's films," Loach told BBC News Online.

He said the situation was different in France, where they gave more priority and respect to home-grown talent.

"Here, you're always having to struggle to get attention because of some trashy American product," he said.

Ken Loach with actor Martin Compston
Sweet Sixteen stars debut actor Martin Compston, 17 (right)
Loach is one of the UK's most respected film-makers, and has been nominated for the prestigious Cannes Palme d'Or seven times, winning the festival's jury prize on three occasions.

His most acclaimed films include Bread and Roses, My Name Is Joe, Land and Freedom and Hidden Agenda.

Sweet Sixteen, released in the UK on 4 October, is about a Scottish teenager who struggles to rebuild his family when his mother is released from prison.

But he said the people who promote films "need to reappraise what cinema's about".

"It's a question of what money you spend. For every pound that's spent to promote our film, many many times that will be spent to present some violent, aggressive, pro-American film, and it's a struggle.

"It's like a real restaurant competing with McDonald's," he said.


I think the censors have made asses of themselves

Ken Loach
He also criticised the censors' decision to give the film an 18 certificate when he hoped it would get a 15 or a 12.

The amount of swearing by the teenage actors was the reason, Loach said.

"It means these kids are put in the same category as pornographers.

"Now, what are we saying to those 15-, 16-, 17-year-olds who know all the words and hear them every day of their lives?

"I think the censors have made asses of themselves."

See also:

26 May 02 | Film
14 May 01 | Film
13 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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