Festival Film: The Old Oak




The hallmark of 87 year old Ken Loach’s many films (I Daniel. The Wind that Shakes the Barley.) is his often controversial and realist treatment of the social issues of ordinary working people.

He focusses on topics such as poverty, homelessness and unemployment, often in dialect and many are subtitled.

Set in 2016 in a village in the North East of England where the mines have closed and real estate prices have plummeted the local people feel “a whole way of life has gone for ever”.

They are resentful as several families of Syrian refuges are rehoused without notice after fleeing their war-torn country.



The white working class community feel a strong sense of injustice as they watch local aid worker Laura (Claire Rodgerson) giving the newcomers charitable donations.

The bar at The Old Oak is a pub is the last community gathering place in town where locals get together, and resentment builds when the struggling owner of the pub TJ Ballantyne (Dave Turner) forms a friendship with Yara (Elba Mari).

Together they manage to get people to work together and integrate the community by providing free meals for those that need them in a disused room at the back of the bar.


“When you work together, you stick together” is a message on one of the photos where 500 meals a day were served by miner’s wives during a strike in the 1980s

Written by Paul Laverty (regular screenwriter with Ken Loach) and using non-professional actors this moving drama has an uplifting and optimistic ending when the two traumatised communities come together.

It is rumoured that this may be the last film from this great British director.

113 minutes

Showing at Luna Leederville, Luna SX and Windsor Nedlands from November 30th.

Watch the trailer…