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Thursday, May 2

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Introduced by director Ken Loach, recorded especially for this series.

U.K., France, 2016
Directed by Ken Loach
Written by Paul Laverty
With Dave Johns, Hayley Squires
Approx. 100 mins. DCP

“Anyone who has spent 48 minutes on the phone waiting for a customer service representative can identify with the mounting impatience of the title character in this scalding cinematic outcry. That’s how long Daniel, a 59-year-old widowed carpenter recovering from a heart attack, waits to connect with a government representative in the first of many infuriating phone calls. Multiply that frustration a hundredfold, and you can imagine the Kafkian nightmare that Daniel endures as he seeks the restoration of his employment and support allowance from the British state after it was mysteriously taken away… You may applaud when Daniel finally confronts the government workers in person, but the experience is actually more humiliating than dealing with them by telephone. Interviewed face to face, the poor and indigent are interrogated like naughty school children. If they raise their voices in protest, security guards appear to remove them… What makes the pain of this film bearable is Daniel’s unquenchable decency, courage and perseverance: Mr. Johns portrays him as a genuine working-class hero with a deep streak of kindness and generosity, a besieged Everyman who reacts to injustice and humiliation with fuming indignation. He refuses to surrender to despair.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times


“Writer-director Ken Loach has been making movies about the British working class since the mid-60s, and this masterful dramatic feature proves that even after all these years he can still work himself up into righteous, white-hot rage.”
 – J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader

“On one level, it is a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers — neoliberal 1984 meets uncaring, capitalist Catch-22. On another, it is a celebration of the decency and kinship of extraordinary people who look out for each other when the state abandons its duty of care.”
– Mark Kermode, The Guardian

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