Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Cutting remarks

Welcome news last week - or at least it was news to me, who admittedly may have been living under a rock: The Trip will be back on our screens soon, this time set in Greece.

Not that director Michael Winterbottom spent much time talking about it in his interview with the Guardian's Catherine Shoard, which focused predominantly on his new film Greed, also starring Steve Coogan. Understandably so, though. The film - in which Coogan plays an oily, obscenely wealthy Philip Green-style businessman - has been censored by Sony Pictures International, who helped to finance it and will now be responsible for distribution.

Apparently Sony were unhappy with the idea of naming and shaming specific people and fashion brands for their unethical conduct - which, by the sounds of it, rather softens the impact of what might otherwise be a hard-hitting satire. As someone used to getting his own way - he directed 9 Songs and managed to get it into mainstream cinemas, after all - Winterbottom is unsurprisingly somewhat miffed.

One can only imagine how Ken Loach would react in the same circumstances. He'd never get dare get into bed with the likes of Sony in the first place, you'd imagine - but in another Guardian interview, this time with Aditya Chakrabortty, he does express irritation at the way "[e]verything is micro-managed [now], by a whole hierarchy above the programme-makers". It is, he declares, "the enemy of creativity". No doubt Winterbottom would be inclined to agree.

Loach's latest film, Sorry We Missed You, very much picks up where I, Daniel Blake left off: a stark portrait of life in Austerity Britain, as experience in the north east of England. As you might expect, the trailer doesn't make it look like a very cheery watch - but if anyone has the skill to wring the drama out of the subject matter, then it's him.

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