11 February 2013

The film approaches 1945 as a pivotal year in British history. The unity that carried Britain through the war, allied to the bitter memories of the inter-war years, led to a vision of a better society. The spirit of the age was to be our brother's and our sister's keeper. Loach has used film from Britain's regional and national archives, alongside sound recordings and contemporary interviews to create a rich political and social narrative. The Spirit of '45 hopes to illuminate and celebrate a period of unprecedented community spirit in the UK, the impact of which endured for many years and which may yet be rediscovered today.

Ken Loach is no stranger to FACT, and his return comes nearly two years to the day that he took part in a Q&A here after a screening of his film Route Irish in 2011.

He says: "The Second World War was a struggle, perhaps the most considerable collective struggle this country has ever experienced. While others made greater sacrifices, the people of Russia for example, the determination to build a better world was as strong here as anywhere. Never again, it was believed, would we allow poverty, unemployment and the rise of fascism to disfigure our lives.

"We had won the war together; together we could win the peace. If we could plan to wage military campaigns, could we not plan to build houses, create a health service, transport system and to make goods that we needed for reconstruction?

"The central idea was common ownership, where production and services were to benefit all. The few should not get rich to the detriment of everyone else. It was a noble idea, popular and acclaimed by the majority.  It was the Spirit of 1945. Maybe it is time to remember it today."

Loach spoke to people from across London, Sheffield, Manchester and North Wales for the film. In Liverpool, he met campaigners Tony Mulhearn, Doreen McNally and John Farrell; Eileen Thompson,  now 90, whorecalls growing up in 'poverty park' in the slums in the 1930s;Sam Watts, who lost his siblings through war and poverty; and dockers Tony Nelson and Terry Teague .

After the preview screening, at 6pm on March 5, The Spirit of '45 will be on general release at FACT from 15 March, (look out for a satellite Q&A with Ken Loach on 15 March) Tickets are available here.