Ken Loach and Paul Laverty’s “The Angel’s Share” an irresistibly funny tale - VIDEO
Cahir O'Doherty talks with Ken Loach about his latest project
“There’ll be no mention today of her calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist,” he tells the Irish Voice gamely.
“There’ll be no mention of her deep and close relationship with Pinochet. There’ll be no mention of what she set in motion with Ronald Reagan leading to the deregulation of the financial services which gave rise to all this recession.
“There won’t be a word about her dirty tactics and illegalities during the miners’ strikes. She’ll be dancing a jig in hell with Ronald Reagan and Augusto Pinochet, I hope. They’ll be great company for each other. I’m going to crack open a bottle of champagne tonight.”
Although raised in Scotland, Laverty has clearly remained faithful to his Irish ancestry, including protesting Thatcher’s polices toward the North and Sinn Fein throughout the 1980s.
“I actually remember on the day of the royal wedding going down from Glasgow to a hunger strike march,” he reveals with a laugh. “I thought we were going to get lynched. I’ve never seen such venom and hatred directed toward me.”
Loach is currently filming and could not make it to New York for the opening of The Angels’ Share, but he spoke to Laverty by phone on Monday morning and told him that impromptu street parties were breaking out all over Britain to mark the former prime minister’s passing with cake and toasts.
For the student of Irish history that Laverty is, it was an opportunity to remember what a disaster her premiership had been. It was also an opportunity to reflect on the tragedy of English colonialism in Ireland, which The Wind That Shakes The Barley masterfully depicts.
“That was a very important film for both of us. We felt a tremendous sense of responsibility to Irish history, as you can imagine,” Laverty says.
“It’s a very interesting thing because when it won the Palme d’Or (the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival, in 2006) the one who was really furious was Michael Gove, the man who is now the Conservative minister for education in the U.K. At the time he was a Tory and a freelance journalist.
“I’m paraphrasing what he said, but what he said is very important. ‘These filmmakers have turned history on its head,’ Gove said. ‘What really happened was that Republicans always had an easy way out but always chose the violent path.’”
To address those claims in The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Laverty says he made certain to include the fact that in 1918 Sinn Fein won 72 of 105 seats.
“When that democratic vote was not respected, out of that came the War of Independence. So it was Gove who turned history on its head,” Laverty says.
“It’s a lovely irony that now he’s the minister for education. He’s the one who’s attacking the history syllabus in the schools.”
Laverty's lifelong engagement with politics accidentally led to his career as screenwriter, he reveals. He wrote to Loach in the 1990s when he decided that fiction might be the best way to explore his political preoccupations, and he received encouragement from the filmmaker for his efforts, which led to a decades long collaboration between the pair.
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