Ken Loach’s contribution to Tickets is down-to-earth, passionate, deeply committed. Three supermarket workers are travelling to Rome to watch Celtic — they’re excitable, loud, and, loaded down with their store’s date-expired sandwiches, generous with the refreshments. But then one of them loses his ticket — they suspect a sassy Albanian kid, travelling with his refugee family, has nicked it. Their bonhomie turns bitter, their boisterousness threatening.

Unfortunately, Tickets, like most ‘omnibus’ films, doesn’t really gel. For a start, the three episodes, all set on a train journey across Italy, are only tenuously connected. More seriously, the compressed structure doesn’t suit the leisurely pace of Olmi or Kiarostami’s direction. Olmi’s opener is inconsequential, an old man’s romantic wish-fulfilment. Kiarostami’s is livelier, but its main character is such an unfeeling, unreasonable woman that it’s difficult to feel any sympathy when she is finally abandoned.

Thankfully, Loach and his writer Paul Laverty show what you can achieve in 30 minutes. Their social commitment takes them into areas others don’t care to tread. Their concluding episode twists and turns at full throttle — and is deeply moving.

Malcolm Lewis

New Internationalist issue 385 magazine cover This article is from the December 2005 issue of New Internationalist.
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