The best Ken Loach movie I’ve seen, this energizing and subversive English tragicomedy (1993) about an unemployed Catholic man on the dole in a Manchester suburb–a scammeister who, along with an unemployed friend, specializes in petty thefts and small jobs such as cleaning drains to support his family–deservedly won a special jury prize at Cannes and was an audience favorite when I saw it at Locarno. Inspired by the real-life experiences of screenwriter Jim Allen, the plot hinges on the hero’s desperate efforts to retain his self-respect against all odds after his partner’s van is stolen. He’s supposed to somehow get his daughter the traditional white dress, shoes, veil, and gloves for her upcoming first communion, and complications and emotions escalate. The movie has a terrific payoff. With Bruce Jones, Julie Brown, Ricky Tomlinson, Tom Hickey, and Gemma Phoenix. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, April 29 through May 5.