Throughout January the mac is hosting a series of cultural events to raise awareness of issues around homelessness and the organisation’s that seek to address them. Issues first widely publicised by Ken Loach’s seminal film Cathy Come Home, some fifty years ago, are being addressed again in his latest film I, Daniel Blake. As the great man himself said, ’50 years on, we are still making the same mistakes.’ So get involved and find out what you can do to help.
A Street Cat Named Bob (dir: Roger Spottiswoode, 2016, cert 12A)
The true story of homeless recovering drug addict James Bowen, played with an easy charm by Luke Treadaway, who finds a path to redemption and salvation when he adopts a stray cat he christens Bob. The story is related simply and whilst it breaks no new ground cinematically the tale at its core is nothing less than heartwarming and you’d have to be an emotional brick to not root for James and Bob throughout. Bob plays himself in the film which is a nice touch.
Fri 13 Jan 8.20pm & Sat 14 Jan 8.20pm £8 macbirmingham
Half Way (dir: Daisy-May Hudson, 2016, cert PG)
Should be compulsory viewing. Your jaw will drop that in 21st century Britain families have to negotiate such an obstructive and labyrinthine system as local authority housing. If you’ve seen I, Daniel Blake you’ll recognise the themes but here, homeless mother Daisy-May Hudson has filmed her personal experiences on the front line of the UK’s homelessness tragedy and the toll it’s taken on her family. Exceptionally moving in parts.
Mon 16 Jan 7pm & Tue 17 Jan 2pm £8 macbirmingham
Cathy Come Home (dir: Ken Loach, 1966, cert PG) + Q & A
Watched by an astonishing 12 million people, a quarter of the UK population at the time, viewers had never seen anything like it before. Though Loach himself has downplayed the influence of the film, it led to the formation of the homeless charity Crisis and raised awareness levels to a degree that had never been seen before. Actress Carol White was given money in the street for years afterwards by people convinced she was actually homeless. A landmark in social realist film-making. Followed by a Q&A with Cath Gilliver from SIFA Fireside, Jacqui Kennedy – Acting Director for Place at Birmingham City Council and Philippa Jones from Bromford Housing.
Tue 17 Jan 6pm £8 macbirmingham
Cardboard Citizens: Cathy
Taking their cue from August Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, the Cardboard Citizens have been producing theatre with and for homeless people for 25 years. Cathy is based on Ken Loach’s Cathy Comes Home but with particular emphasis on the obstacles facing the homeless today. Powerful, moving and emotionally raw Cathy is a unique theatre experience. Followed by a forum session in which the audience are encouraged to take part in a theatrical debate on the issues raised and even assist in providing a live rewriting of the story.
Thu 19 Jan 8pm & Fri 20 Jan 8pm £12 macbirmingham
Street Spirit Exhibition
In a fascinating project users of local homeless charities were issued with cameras and asked to take photographs of their experiences of homelessness and mental health in Birmingham. The resulting images give a unique glimpse into an otherwise hard to see world and are presented here as part of an exhibition in association with the Big Issue, SIFA Fireside and Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust.
Sat 7 Jan to Sun 29 Jan 9am to 9pm Free macbirmingham
Published on: Fri 20 Jan 2017