9 Reasons To Come Watch 'I, Daniel Blake' With Us
1. We all know a Daniel Blake
In Ken Loach’s brilliant new film, we’re introduced to a decent, hard-working man from Newcastle called Daniel Blake. After suffering a heart attack, he’s told by doctors not to work – yet because of flaws in the system, Daniel loses his entitlement to disability allowance. His story is one of a desperate struggle against the state, but sadly it’s an all too familiar one in modern Britain. In 2016, an astonishing 13.5 million UK citizens are classed as living in poverty, so countless hard-working families will recognise Daniel Blake’s plight.
2. It’s a true reflection of modern Britain
Despite repeated claims by politicians that Britain is booming, the view from the street is a very different one. I, Daniel Blake was based on research and interviews by screenwriter Paul Laverty, who spent months meeting people in towns and cities across the UK – including his home town Nuneaton. Laverty told the BBC: "We met a young lad there who was sleeping on a mattress in a charity home. He'd given up on benefits – he said it was too humiliating – and the week before he hadn't eaten for four days. I opened his fridge and there was nothing in it. This was one of the first people we encountered."
3. Ken Loach directed it
Legendary director Ken Loach, 79, above, is no stranger to featuring important social issues in his films, but he’s also been a powerful force in changing our attitudes toward them too. His 1966 film Cathy Come Home has been credited with changing entire generation’s response to homelessness in the UK - an issue which led to the creation of the charities Shelter and Crisis.
4. Austerity is a bigger issue than ever
Last week’s Tory party conference came with the announcement that the government is committed to its programme of austerity, inflicting painful cuts upon society's poorest individuals. The effects of austerity are visible throughout I, Daniel Blake, and are reflective of real-life Britain. Ken Loach himself has said: "The world we live in is at a dangerous point right now. We are in the grip of a dangerous project of austerity that has brought us to near catastrophe.”
5. Food bank use is on the rise in the UK
One of the more shocking and poignant scenes in I, Daniel Blake features single mum Katie (played by Hayley Squires) visiting a food bank for the first time and becoming overwhelmed by her difficult circumstances. Sadly, the real life picture is even bleaker, with food bank usage on the rise in the UK. In the last year alone, food banks run by the Trussell Trust charity provided well over a million emergency packages to people in crisis, with a shocking 41% of referrals to these food banks being as a result of benefit-related issues. Go and see I, Daniel Blake to discover how quickly someone can spiral into poverty and become reliant on the use of food banks.
6. It highlights the goodness of regular hardworking people
I, Daniel Blake is a sobering film, but it does a wonderful job of acknowledging those people within society who are determined to help others less fortunate than themselves. In the film, Daniel Blake encounters individuals within the state who want to help, but whose hands are tied by the system. There are also many decent, hard-working people who rally round Daniel in his hour of need.
7. I, Daniel Blake has already scooped a top award
I, Daniel Blake hasn’t even been released yet, but it’s already got critics in agreement that it’s one of the year’s best films. It won the coveted Palme d'Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and has gone on to enjoy a series of glowing reviews.
8. I, Daniel Blake was the talk of this year’s Labour Party conference
Ken Loach’s important new film was given a special screening at the recent Labour Party conference in Liverpool. Audiences – including MPs and prospective policy-makers – were moved to tears by the film’s content, and it even inspired the key-note speech by Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary who spoke out against things like the bedroom tax and the use of zero hours contracts.
9. It will change the way you think about society
I, Daniel Blake forces you think about how you would cope if you suddenly found yourself in Daniel’s shoes. He’s an honest, hard-working individual, but is ultimately failed by the system. The film confronts unpleasant truths about our own society, and forces you to conclude “we are all Daniel Blake”.
We're screening a Double Bill of I, Daniel Blake and Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach on August 28 from 5pm. Checkout our Facebook event, and let us know you're going there..