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Loach sees red as film censors say 'cut out the swearing'

Film director Ken Loach has criticised censors for asking him to remove swear words from his new film in order to qualify for a 15 certificate.

Mr Loach said the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) asked for cuts to some language in 'The Angels' Share'.

The British middle class is "obsessed by what they call bad language", he said at the Cannes Film Festival.

The BBFC said the film company chose to reduce the number of uses of very strong language in order to get a 15. An 18 certificate was available for the uncut version, it said.

The Scottish comedy tells the story of a young and unemployed father to be who discovers a talent for whisky tasting.

The film is in competition for the Palme d'Or, six years after Mr Loach won the festival's top prize for 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley'.


Meanwhile, landing a part in Mr Loach's new film "probably saved my life", its Scottish lead actor said last night.

Glaswegian Paul Brannigan, who plays Robbie in the bittersweet comedy, said he was cast after being spotted at community football coaching sessions.

Speaking at a press conference in Cannes, Mr Brannigan said: "Things were tough, I had no money. It was Christmas time, and I got a loan which I wanted to pay back, and I thought, well, if I make a couple of hundred quid, that will see me through.

"Hands-up, I would say they probably saved my life. I had nowhere to turn . . . who knows what I'd have done for money."

'The Angels' Share' tells the story of Robbie, a jobless youth who has been in and out of jail and who, after becoming a father, becomes desperate for a way to break the cycle of despair -- and finds it in the Scottish art of whisky-making.

Mr Brannigan said the story was one he was "very familiar" with, as were "thousands of other kids" in Glasgow today.

His break got noticed and he recently starred in a film with actress Scarlett Johansson. He remained tight-lipped on the story but told reporters she seduces him in the film.

Mr Loach, who is not known for his comedy, said he and scriptwriter Paul Laverty did not write and direct the film to be humorous but rather to tell the stories of the characters.

"In moments of deep crisis there will be some silly thing that will make you have a giggle inside," Mr Loach said.

"We don't live in a sort of mono-emotional world, our whole experience is part comedy, part tragedy."

The press conference tackled some big questions when Mr Loach was asked what his film and the current economic crisis might represent regarding attitudes towards the working class.

Mr Loach said: "The working class are important because they are the agent of change.

"If there is to be change it will come from the working class, it won't come as a gift from on high. It'll come because of the organisation of the working class, and for that you need political leadership.

"That's very simple and very traditional, but I think it's still true."

The director said he believed the key to that change was in movements, rather than leaders.

"There's no escaping the political argument that the system that is bringing destruction to us and to our lives has meant that for us to ask for a secure job, a house to live in, somewhere to go when you're old, to be looked after when you're sick, security for your family -- these are now revolutionary demands."

Irish Independent