On Wednesday afternoon, I popped along to a preview screening of Ken Loach’s new doc The Spirit of ‘45 at the Showroom Cinema, which is handily just underneath the BFFS office. Ken has been our patron since 2009, and is a big supporter of volunteer-led community cinemas and film societies. The film has been getting some great publicity lately, including Ken’s well received appearance on Question Time, so I was keen to see what the fuss was about.
The Spirit of ‘45 is a protest film, with the aim of energising us to defend the institutions that have historically defined Britain as a nation that cares about all of its citizens, not just those with privilege. Simply made, it’s the personal stories and memories that take the foreground, rather than artistic direction, and those are what stay with you after the film. I’ve heard rumblings that this film is preaching to the converted, that it’s unbalanced and that it idealises Socialism – but I think you’d be misguided to come away from the film not feeling that its lessons are deeply relevant to society today, or that its voices shouldn’t be heard.
I left the screening feeling a mixture of devastation and motivation, which was shared by others in the audience. Mel from Magic Lantern Film Club said after the screening, ‘one of those films you wish would be shown projected on big walls outside the cinemas so that everyone gets to see it’, and I completely agree. I hope community venues across the UK can make sure The Spirit of ‘45 gets a wide audience – the film is going to be available to screen through the Booking Scheme in the Summer – and I’m proud that BFFS is associated with a filmmaker committed to ensuring important stories are told.
To book a film or to find our more about the scheme, go to the BFFS website.