Ken Loach, 'Family Life' and socialist realism: some historical and theoretical aspects

Cresswell, M and Karimova, Z (2016) 'Ken Loach, 'Family Life' and socialist realism: some historical and theoretical aspects.' Journal of British Cinema and Television, 14 (1). pp. 19-38. ISSN 1743-4521

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2017.0350

Abstract

This article considers some historical and theoretical aspects of Ken Loach’s 1971 film about mental illness, Family Life. Historically, it explores the film’s influences, particularly that of the 1960s ‘anti-psychiatrist’ and counter-cultural figure, R.D. Laing. In this respect, the article specifies a contemporaneous critique of Family Life in Peter Sedgwick’s (1972) hostile review for Socialist Worker. In light of this critique, the article then reconsiders, theoretically, Loach’s strategies of socialist-realist representation in Family Life, particularly as they relate to: 1) mental illness and institutional psychiatry; and 2) the distinction drawn by Raymond Williams between artistic and political forms of representation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Loach, Laing, Sedgwick, Family Life, mental illness, psychiatry, representation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2019 12:34
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2019 12:34
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