24 February 2024
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In an interview ahead of the Cannes Film Festival premiere of The Old Oak in May, Ken Loach declared that his 26th feature could well be his last. It was getting increasingly difficult to make films at his advanced age, the 87-year-old British director told The Hollywood Reporter.

However, the publication noted that Loach has threatened retirement in the past, only to roll out yet another movie. Loach’s long-time writing collaborator, Paul Laverty, added in the interview that Loach might consider directing a documentary next.

Other octogenarian directors who have been at work this year alone include 88-year-old Shyam Benegal (Mujib: The Making of a Nation), 86-year-old Ridley Scott (Napoleon), 81-year-old Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon) and 84-year-old Marco Bellocchio (Kidnapped).

Ninety-one-year-old Clint Eastwood is shooting Juror No. 2. Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira, who died in 2015 at the age of 106, made his final movie, Gebo and the Shadow, in 2012.

It’s fitting then that The Old Oak is about the passage of time. Loach’s moving drama will be screened at the International Film Festival of Kerala (December 8-15). Loach’s movies are a favourite at this annual event, with his longstanding themes on the importance of worker’s movements, how socialism can be used to address injustice and the poetry of ordinary lives finding resonance among the politically astute Thiruvanathapuram crowd.

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Abdul Gh Lone