The Angels’ Share is a film about a man who, having spent time in prison, finds a new lease of life through a love of good whisky. Clearly alcohol has the power to save as well as ruin. The Angels’ Share Q&A, following a screening of the film, was very informative on the background and difficulties in shooting the film. Former Arts Picturehouse manager Emma, as host of the Q & A, welcomed Ken Loach on to the stage. Loach chose to stand throughout.
Loach revealed a number of interesting aspects about The Angels’ Share:
He is not someone who [in partnership with Paul Laverty as scriptwriter] , likes referencing others’ work, and is irritated by reviews that start by talking about six or seven other films – in both cases, because he wants to concentrate on the work in hand
It was necessary to get a 15 certificate – to moderate the open appearance of the ‘c’ word to seven times, five of which had to be ‘non-aggressive’ (when Loach had expected the risk to be the violence)
Loach had, with Laverty, researched the local background, even casting a mother for Leonie (Siobhan Reilly), with whom off-screen scenes were played to give Reilly experience of her character’s family life
They had thereby come to know Paul Brannigan (Robbie), who was employed at a care establishment. Paul, like Robbie, had been in prison, and he had shown children with whom he worked a cell-sized space, asking them to imagine living in it
Loach believes (as asked) that the words ‘gritty’ and ‘social realism’ have had their day, and ‘should be burned’. Nonetheless, he had what he described (in relation to Harry’s kind-heartedness) as ‘warmth to share’ for those at the bottom, who know generations of unemployment and hopelessness
The director had not tried Balblair’s production, despite having filmed there. Loach, however, commended helpful and friendly staff at Deanston (also featured, which was silent from 1982 to 1991), Balblair and (which fronted for parts of Balblair) Glengoyne, which fronted for parts of Deanston.