Ken Loach

Like the Italian neo-realists (especially Vittorio De Sica) who served as his inspiration, Ken Loach has acquired a reputation as the leading socially conscious director working in Britain. A quiet, soft-spoken man, he hardly seems the "dean of leftist movie makers" (as he was dubbed by the New York Times in June 1998). The son of a working-class factory worker, Loach served in the Royal Air Force, studied law and then worked in theater, first as an understudy and later touring Birmingham in a repertory company. To make end meet, he picked up work as a teacher.