Ken Loach: una vida como si fuera cine

ken_loach_cannes2006

“¿Qué te has creído que es esto? ¿Una película?”, pregunta en algún momento un iracundo personaje escrito por Ken Loach a otro. Con la ficción como ventrílocuo, el cineasta y su guionista se lo preguntan también al que mira la pantalla. El extenso entramado de su filmografía, habitado por desposeídos, migrantes, desempleados, minorías, madres solteras y obreros, chiquillos dealers y adolescentes sin futuro, por actores no profesionales y escenarios reales, es una forma a la vez compleja y directa de hacer la misma pregunta a cada espectador: ¿Qué te crees tú que estás viendo? ¿Cine?

A sus 74 años, Kenneth “Ken” Loach esboza su próximo proyecto con la inquietud del primero. Siempre hace tres cosas a la vez: filma una película, al tiempo que da entrevistas sobre la anterior y bosqueja el guión y las investigaciones necesarias para la siguiente. Tal es el ritmo de trabajo y la lucidez de  ideas del que tal vez sea el último heredero vivo del realismo social británico y del cine de militancia y ensayo sociopolítico, que nació con los nuevos cines de inicios de los 60’s e hizo ebullición a lo largo de esa década y la siguiente.

La tanda de premios recogidos después, que incluyen el César, la Palma de Oro en Cannes y algunos más en la Berlinale, llegan como un reconocimiento igual justo que tardío a una obra fílmica hoy reputada en festivales pero que en su momento, en la efervescencia política de los finales de la guerra fría, pasó por incómoda y tuvo que financiarse y exhibirse sorteando los abismos de la sospecha ideológica.

Pero el tío Loach los engañó. Evadiendo los tópicos más cansinos y previsibles de lo “políticamente comprometido”, despojándose de discursos aleccionadores, de guiones pedagógicos y de militancias evidentes, el cineasta nacido en la provincia inglesa eligió un cine que en vez de decir, muestra, uno cuya ficción coquetea con lo documental (sonido directo, personajes que casi se interpretan a si mismos) al acercarse a una Inglaterra callejera, cotidiana y ciudadana que rara vez tiene cámaras enfrente.

Becado a los 27 años por la BBC, el entonces aspirante teatral saltó a los medios audiovisuales colaborando en documentales y docuficciones como Cathy Come Home (1963), férrea denuncia de los programas sociales de vivienda que en 1966 levantó la primera de las varias polémicas del realizador y, se dice, llegó a ser un factor importante en la modificación de las leyes de protección social británicas para personas sin hogar.

Después de varios documentales, proyectos seriados para televisión y cuatro largometrajes (entre ellos dos clásicos de su filmografía: Kes, 1969 y Family Life, 1971), la trayectoria de Loach, como la de varios artistas de distintas disciplinas en el Reino Unido, se topó con el muro de la administración de Margaret Tatcher a partir de 1975. A pesar de ser una etapa de producción difícil para un cineasta abiertamente trotskista y militante en la más férrea oposición, la dura mano de la Dama de Hierro se torna en incentivo para seguir filmando.

A partir de la década de los 90, tal vez sea la necesidad de recuperar el tiempo perdido lo que impulsa a Loach a mantener un ritmo promedio de una película cada año y medio. Con el filósofo y abogado de izquierdas Paul Laverty convertido en su guionista de cabecera, Loach mantiene la mirada puesta sobre la Inglaterra diaria con un sólido método de trabajo donde los intérpretes no son caras conocidas y hablan en su acento natal, la iluminación siempre es natural y la cámara suele filmar a la altura de sus ojos, a distancias medias y con libertad de movimiento.

Alguna vez, eso si, se ha permitido interesantes ejercicios de interpretación histórica ó filmada en otras latitudes que obligan a tomarse algunas concesiones: Tanto la coproducción española sobre la guerra civil Tierra y Libertad (1995) como la irlandesa El viento que agita la cebada (2006) sobre la lucha de independencia, cuentan en sus repartos con nombres como Icíar Bollaín ó Cillian Murphy, caras conocidas en sus tierras natales que logran una mejor distribución, respuesta y cercanía con su público primario: Las sociedades de las que habla.

Una aventura aún más alejada de casa es Pan y Rosas (2000), modesto y honesto relato de un par de trabajadoras mexicanas, sin papeles, emprendiendo una lucha personal por el respeto laboral en el centro de Los Ángeles. En estrategia similar a las arriba mencionadas, el nombre de Adrien Brody en el cartel promocional busca un mejor posicionamiento en el mercado norteamericano. La denuncia migrante por si misma, sobra decirlo, no es muy popular en carteleras.

Hoy, Ken Loach apoya la distribución en dvd de su sorpresiva comedia Buscando a Eric (Looking for Eric, 2009) al tiempo que prepara el estreno de Route Irish (2010), su película sobre el papel de los soldados y el gobierno británicos en la guerra de Irak. Después llegará a casa y echará un ojo a su canal oficial de YouTube, donde desde hace algún tiempo ha tomado la iniciativa (mediante convenio) de subir a la red sus películas completas de forma gratuita para el que guste y tenga una tarde libre.

Aún vista en retrospectiva y como parte integral de las últimas décadas del cine británico, la filmografía de Ken Loach no puede evadirse como una actualidad punzante y necesaria, el amplio paisaje de nuestro presente. La Inglaterra Loach, la de los trabajadores migrantes engañados y explotados en It’s a free World (2007), la de los adolescentes devastados por el entorno en Felices dieciséis (Sweet Sixteen, 2002), es una parcela del mundo que permanece oculto a la vista de las cámaras, a menos que Ken Loach lo disfrace de pantalla y lo ponga frente a nosotros, que ingenuos, inocentes, creemos que vamos a ver una película.

AM/RL

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