The film tells the reactions of a small village in the North of England, in 2016, to the arrival of some Syrian refugees

social-political comedy
Direction: Ken Loach. With Dave Turner, Ebla Mari, Claire Rodgerson, Trevor Fox, Chris McGlade, Col Tait, Jordan Louis, Chrissie Robinson

“The Old Oak” by Ken Loach

“The Old Oak” by Ken Loach


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Eighty-seven year old Ken Loach with The Old Oak (“The Old Oak”, name of the pub where much of the film takes place) recounts the reactions of a small village in the North of England, in 2016, to the arrival of some Syrian refugees.

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Those who don’t really know how to consider them, those who want to blame them for the poverty into which they have fallen, those who instead try to recover the old working-class solidarity and would like to help them, as the owner of the pub does, who makes a room available to encourage integration.

Ebla Mari is the refugee Yara, in Ken Loach’s latest film.

Nothing particularly new in Paul Laverty’s very “lefty”, progressive screenplay, Loach’s historic traveling companion, not even the fact that the decisive push comes from women, starting with the young Yara who uses her skill as a photographer to tell the facts.

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But Loach has the ability to make everything exciting and engaging: the dialogues are a bit preachy, but the English director never loses hope that the gestures of individuals can change the course of things for the better. And a group of actors truly in a state of grace makes us forget the excess of voluntarism and manages to excite those in the room.

For those who have not stopped believing in a better future.


The article “The Old Oak” by Ken Loach: Paolo Mereghetti’s review seems to be the first on iO Donna.