In a set of interviews that will surely trigger a War on Loach, Ken Loach has made strong comments in Cannes about the historical context of his latest film set in early 1920s Ireland, covering the War of Independence and the Civil War -- with analogies to present day Iraq. Some key excerpts:
(AP) "A story of the fight for independence, it's a story that recurs and recurs and recurs, so it is always a good time to tell that story ... There are always armies of occupation somewhere in the world being resisted by the people they're occupying ... They [British government] screwed it up 80-odd years ago. If they hadn't divided the country, the problems, certainly you would imagine, would have been resolved by now ... But with the partition, that embodies the conflict. So therefore it continues, because there it is physically in front of you. It was all short-term interest of the British government. How can we get what we want and screw them up ... People confuse the government with the people, and it's obvious you could not but be critical of the actions of the British government, ... Tom Paine said, `My country is the world,' so that's why it's not anti-British. It's anti the actions of that British government."
Reuters: "I don't need to tell anyone where the British now unfortunately and illegally have an army occupation. And the damage and the casualties and the brutalities that are emerging from that ... My view is that this [Iraq] was an illegal war ... It's an appalling scar on our government's record and clearly on the American's."
UPDATE 28 MAY: Loach wins the Palme d'Or.