Published 29 September 200929 September 2009 · Main Posts looking for ken Karen Pickering ken loach movies are not normally laugh-a-minute. of course, they can be funny [usually in a dry way] but they can also be harrowing and maudlin and slightly soul-destroying.* not this one. looking for eric does feature the man-god philosopher king cantona, and is cut throughout with footage of man u in its glory days with cantona in his rightful place as the secular saint of manchester. but the eric of the title is a more conventional loach hero – an ordinary man whose goodness is neither inscribed by his class nor compromised because of it. it’s not a wholly romantic bit of social realism, as the characters face some of the storied challenges of poverty and its power to limit opportunity. it is magic realism with the deftest of touch, so perhaps too whimsical for those like their loach gut-wrenching and heart-stopping in equal measure. i like that loach too but i loved this film. you don’t have to be a football fan either [i’m not] to be affected by the role it plays in the life of the protagonist. many a sports film has equated love of sport with a yearning for self-respect, belonging, tribe, and excellence, and this movie does lean heavily on the “football is life” metaphor. ultimately, teamwork, trust and willingness to risk everything for success/love/peace is the message we take with us. cantona is magnificently lowkey throughout and that’s why it works. nobody needs to see one of the greatest footballers who ever lived popping into frame like jiminy cricket meets tony robbins. and yes, it includes themes of family breakdown, intergenerational social mobility, masculinity and the working class, the ubiquity of violence and the attraction of crime, and some good-old fashioned self-sabotage. but it’s also fucking hilarious and if you’re not a little bit moved by its sweetness and charm and humour then you probably have a lump of coal where your heart should be. p.s. be sure to stay and watch the credits for a special treat. * i am still not over the wind that shakes the barley. Karen Pickering More by Karen Pickering › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202311 November 2023 · Subscriberthon 2023 On the final day of Subscriberthon, Overland’s most important members get to have their say Editorial Team BORIS A quick guide to another year of Overland, from your trusty feline, Boris. I liked the ginger cat story, though it made my human cry. I liked the talking cat, too, but I’m definitely in the “not wasting my time learning to talk” camp. But reading is good. And writing is fun, though it’s been challenging […] 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 9 November 20239 November 2023 · Subscriberthon 2023 On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, Overland’s co-chief editor Evelyn Araluen speaks truth to power Editorial Team To my friends and comrades, I’m not sure if there’s language to communicate how this last month has utterly changed me. This time a few weeks ago the busyness and chaos of bricolage arts and academic labour had so efficiently distracted me from my anxiety about the upcoming referendum that I forgot to prepare myself for its inevitable conclusion.