Following a group of rail workers who are affected by the privatisation of the U.K. rail network, The Navigators is in the tradition of Loach films celebrating the nobility, humour and commitment of industrial workers. Like his documentaries on miners and dockworkers, and with echoes of Riff-Raff, there is much camaraderie and banter as the men face uncertain futures and failing safety conditions. The Navigators was given great currency when filming began on it within days of a major train crash at Hatfield, and its script is the poignant legacy of writer Rob Dawber who died while the film was being edited from cancer caused by exposure to asbestos after years working on the tracks.
This film is screening as part of our Ken Loach retrospective (May & June). Loach’s latest film, Jimmy’s Hall, opens at the IFI on May 30th.