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French MPs to view acclaimed Loach film on gig economy

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Paris (AFP)

French MPs are to get a sneak preview of the new film by the British director Ken Loach, which shows tech giants destroying the lives of ordinary working families.

Critics at the Cannes film festival hailed "Sorry We Missed You", the veteran's heart-breaking story of an overworked delivery driver as a "wrenching tale of the way we live now and how the gig economy screws over the people it promises to save".

Even the Hollywood bible Variety -- not normally a fan of leftwing activist directors -- said "the times have caught up with Loach and they have pushed him to the top of his game.

"He's 82 years old, and he is now making films that connect, with a nearly karmic sense of timing, to the social drama of our moment."

The French Communist MP Clementine Autain, who is organising the screening at the National Assembly on October 14, said the movie "demonstrates the consequences of the Uberisation of our society with great finesse."

The Guardian gave it five stars and declared that "this brilliant film will focus minds.... in modern Britain, the land of zero-hours vassalage and service-economy serfdom."

The film -- shot in the northeastern English city of Newcastle like his last Palme d'Or winning film "I, Daniel Blake" -- takes "a white van man" and turns him into a martyr of out-of-control capitalism.

Autain, one of many French MPs from both the left and right pushing for greater regulation of the tech industry, said that the director would also make the trip to Paris to introduce the film.

Loach told AFP in Cannes that scriptwriter Paul Laverty had found Amazon drivers working with broken limbs while he was researching the film.

He said the system of zero-hour contracts and false "self-employed owner-driver franchisees" used by tech giants ranging from Uber to Deliveroo creates massive misery by "putting all the risk on the workers... who are made to exploit themselves."

"Sorry We Missed You" will be released in France, Britain and northern Europe in late October and late November, before it opens in the US in March.

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