Are critics right that Ken Loach’s film, “The Spirit of ’45,” is a work of fantasy?
Ken Loach’s documentary film, “The Spirit of ‘45”, may contain a little fantasy, but after all, that’s what filmmakers do, they take advantage of ‘poetic license’ to mesmerize the audience. By making the “The Spirit of ‘45”, Mr. Loach wanted to highlight the Labour Government’s achievements in postwar Britain, which the public chose to forget when the conservative party came into power 6 years later. As a staunch socialist, he felt the need to acknowledge the changes made by Prime Minister Clement Atlee and the Labour Government.
Although Britain won the war in 1945, morale was at an all-time low and needed a boost. Mr. Loach’s film demonstrates how The Prime Minister did that by introducing the National Health Service allowing everyone access to free healthcare. Mr. Atlee also nationalized almost half of the country’s industries, which many felt was a mistake. No one wanted to invest in companies where workers had no representation, and the management was the same as before. These happenings are factual, not fantasy. Some people don’t want to accept the truth, but would rather remember recent ‘good times’ than face the reality of how grim Britain was after the end of the Second World War.
Today, much emphasis is put on “Thatcherism,” the years when Margaret Thatcher was in power. People remember what they want to remember and see what they want to see. “The Spirit of ‘45” reminds the public that Britain is a better country now because of many actions that were taken by the Labour Government in postwar years. The film allows the younger generation to understand the hardships their parents and grandparents endured to enable them to live in a brighter more stable society.
Parts of the film are archived footage and interviews, so how can people question its validity. Most film reviewers and skeptics were not even born when the subject depicted in Mr. Loach’s film occurred. History tells no lies, only those people who do not realize what really happened. “The Spirit of ‘45” is filmed mostly in black and white with occasional insertions of color, which dominate and accentuate the celebratory scenes. Mr. Loach is renowned for factual, fiction films as well as outspoken documentaries.