Ken Loach wins second Cannes Palme d'Or with 'I, Daniel Blake'

Sun May 22, 2016 3:50pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

CANNES, France (Reuters) - British veteran director Ken Loach won his second Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival when "I, Daniel Blake", his latest social-realist drama, took the Best Picture award on Sunday.

Loach, 79, is one of only nine directors to have won the top prize at Cannes twice. Loach had won in 2006 with "The Wind That Shakes the Barley."

Addressing the Grand Theatre des Lumieres crowd in French, Loach said: "Thanks to the team, the writer (Paul Laverty), the producer (Rebecca O'Brien) and all the others.

"Thanks also to the workers of the Cannes Festival who make this event possible."

Loach remains just as passionate about social injustice as when his TV play "Cathy Come Home" shocked viewers 50 years ago with its depiction of a slide into homelessness.

Switching to English, Loach said he found it very strange to receive an award in such opulent surroundings given the miserable living conditions of the people who inspired his film.

“When there is despair, the people from the far right take advantage,” Loach said. “We must say that another world is possible and necessary.”

"I, Daniel Blake", shows how Britain's social security system conspires to drive a downtrodden carpenter and a single mother of two into poverty in the northeastern city of Newcastle.   Continued...

Director Ken Loach, Palme d'Or award winner for his film "I, Daniel Blake", reacts during the closing ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 22, 2016.              REUTERS/Eric Gaillard