Director/Writer: Ken Loach
94min UK Documentary
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A moving documentary tribute to the Second World War replete with original footage of war torn London and impartial commentary from ‘ordinary’ people who speak of their wartime experiences and give their personal impressions of the era.
Following on from the allies victory under Churchill’s leadership, Ken Loach focuses his documentary on the immediate postwar period with a rousing tribute to the new Labour Government of the time under Clement, Earl of Attlee, describing how he set up the NHS, nationalised major industries and embarked on a much-needed housebuilding programme.
Post-War Britain in 1945 was a picture of economic and social devastation, so what’s new? With The Spirit of ’45, Loach attempts to illustrate how the solidarity and chin-up approach of the British people carried the nation through the immediate aftermath of economic depression and how, buoyed up by this optimism, the nation made a positive new start that subsequently paved the way social euphoria in the late fifties and sixties.
Where is this ‘spirit’ now, it asks? And that’s the one big failing of the documentary: while providing a great deal of food for thought about the British people and their attitude post war, it fails to analyse and engage with the fundamentals and examine why that frame of mind existed in the forties and whether it has possibly died due to cultural, ethnic and social change that has shaped Britain in the intervening 75 years. MT