The Spirit Of '45

The Spirit Of '45

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Robert Munro

Read Val Kermode's film review of The Spirit Of '45

Ken Loach's rousing documentary The Spirit of '45 arrives on DVD courtesy of doc specialists Dogwoof with a slew of extras sure to delight fans of the film.

In addition to a short Loach-directed documentary - Which Side Are You On? - and an interview with the man himself, this release comes equipped with more than six hours of extended interviews from the wonderful contributors to the film, whose enduring recollections, anecdotes and stories of the Spirit of '45, really are the beating heart of this project.

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Which Side Are You On? pools footage of miners discussing the closure and de-nationalisation of the mining industry under Margaret Thatcher's reign as Prime Minister. There are heated exchanges between miners and policeman; debates between miners and their families at conferences; and poetry readings and folk singers lamenting the loss of the industry. This short provides a fitting eulogy to the main film itself, showing the despair at the demise of the socialist post-war reforms.

The short interview with director Loach gives the viewer an appreciation of just how personal the project is and how earnestly he hopes that it may encourage those who see it to think again about a collective spirit of social progression.

The real gem in this release, however, is the extended interviews with contributors to the film. Listening to the participants - doctors, nurses, miners, housebuilders - talk about their lives, and the impact that the socially-progressive programs detailed in the film, had on themselves and their families truly puts into perspective the ideological chasm between the post-war era of collective effort and the world of the individual as we know it today.

This kind of 'social history' - the kind of which Studs Terkel is famed for in the States - in which the participants themselves talk about history in personable and digestible chunks grounds the film's otherwise idealistic moments and provides hours of entertainment and education.

Reviewed on: 08 Apr 2013
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A documentary about the spirit of unity that developed in the UK during the Second World War and contributed to the formation of the Welfare State.
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Product Code: B00B26XU62

Region: 2

Extras: 22 Extended interviews with all contributors to the film including all new material; Interview with Ken Loach; Ken Loach short film: Which Side Are You On?; Audio Description option for the blind or partially sighted; English HOH subtitles & UK Trailer.

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