Early Ken Loach masterpiece at Nelson Film Society

Film director Ken Loach is known for his portrayals of gritty social realism.
Chris Jackson

Film director Ken Loach is known for his portrayals of gritty social realism.

Ken Loach directs our Classic (newly restored) 1967 debut film from the UK this week. 

Poor Cow, (based on Nell Dunn's novel) now looks more than ever like Loach's early masterpiece.   Most of us enjoyed his latest film (I, Daniel Blake) and he stayed true with this story,  showing  an extraordinary  freshness and openness as well as a film vividly evocative of its time and place.

 To see it re-released on the cinema screen after 50 years is a fascinating and detailed time-capsule.

The story is about Joy, a young woman living a life filled with bad choices. She marries early and has a child with an abusive thief who quickly ends up in prison.  

Left alone she takes up with his mate Terence Stamp, (as handsome as a young George Best), who seems to give her some happiness, but ends up with a series of seedy types who offer nothing but momentary pleasure. 

Poor Cow presents a microcosm of working-class life, with Chris Menges's  restless camera winding through bustling streets and bombsites, smoky pubs and poky flats.  

Joy struggles to find her feet in a world where society's sands are shifting and the role of women is becoming increasingly uncertain.  Her son goes missing and she briefly has to come to grips with what is most important to her.

The title itself is a masterstroke of deadpan irony and tragedy:  a despairing insult born of pity and condescension, hurled at women by men, or by women themselves.  

However the film never judges Joy (Carol White), nor treats her methods of survival as anything other than a fact of life. 

Often labelled a "social realist" but averse to pigeonholing himself as such, Ken Loach is renowned for his reverent depictions of the politics of everyday life.

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This British director has established a reputation for himself in his native country and overseas, as one of the film industry's more respected and idealistic figures.

Poor Cow, directed by Ken Loach (UK  1967) HD, 101 mins

Thursday May 25, Suter Cinema, at 6pm.  Nelson Film Society members only, join at the door.

 - Stuff

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