Britain’s Ken Loach shocks at Cannes, winning gold with moving austerity tale

British director Ken Loach won the Palme d'Or top prize at Cannes Sunday for the second time in a decade with his moving drama “I, Daniel Blake” about the shame of poverty in austerity-hit Europe. The award marked a major upset at the world’s top film festival in favor of the left-wing director, who turns 80 next month and is known for shining a light on the downtrodden. "I, Daniel Blake" chronicles a middle-aged widower from Newcastle who, after a heart attack, can neither work nor get government aid. It follows the sometimes comic, frequently painful frustrations as he winds his way through an archaic system that seems designed to bring him down.

We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible.


Loach now joins an elite club of two-time victors at the French Riviera festival including Francis Ford Coppola and Emir Kusturica. He beat runaway favorites including the rapturously received German comedy “Toni Erdmann” by Maren Ade, one of three female directors in competition, and U.S. indie legend Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson” starring Adam Driver as a poetry-writing bus driver. The runner-up Grand Prix award went to Canada’s Xavier Dolan, 27, for his hot-tempered family drama “It’s Only the End of the World” featuring a cast of A-list French stars which had been widely panned by critics.