Media Literacy through It’s a Free World (Ken Loach, 2007)

Discussion Questions for It’s a Free World (Ken Loach, 2007)

Director: Ken Loach
Screenplay: Paul Laverty
Production credits & Cast

  • According to Quart & Kornblum (2001), Ken Loach is a social-realist filmmaker who “makes films that depict working-class characters confronting oppressive labor conditions, indifferent unions, and callous government bureaucracies” (p. 117). In what ways is this valid for It’s a Free World? Would it be possible to say that Loach‘s treatment of contemporary labor issues is slightly different in this film and if so, is it due to Loach and Laverty’s treatment of Angie? Why? Why not?
  • Discuss the depiction of Angie in the film. How is she represented at the very beginning? In what way(s) does her representation change later? How do you react to her?
  • What could Angie’s father represent in the film?
  • What could Rose represent in the film?
  • How do Loach and Laverty represent the economic system in the film?
  • Discuss the irony in the title of the film.
  • According to Branston & Stafford (1996), some of the typical characteristics of a Ken Loach film are as follows: “use of actors who are not stars”, “naturalistic acting style”, “location shooting”, “documentary filming techniques”, “scenes in narrative sequence to encourage the involvement of the audience”. Why do you think Loach gives priority to these as a filmmaker? Discuss these characteristics in relation to It’s a Free World.
  • What could be Ken Loach’s motive for making this film? What is your reaction to the social issues depicted in the film?
  • What gender issues are dealt with in It’s a Free World?
  • Does the film provide any solutions to the issues raised? If yes, in what ways. If no, why not.
  • Discuss the following words/phrases in relation to the film: business ideology, free market, flexible employment, profit-seeking, voice, Ken Loach and Gordon Brown, global exploitation, victimization.

© Ali Nihat Eken, Istanbul, May 2008
Photo credit: Sixteen Films.

Relevant link: About Ken Loach (in Turkish)