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Kes
     

Kes

5.0 1
Director: Ken Loach, David Bradley, Freddie Fletcher, Lynne Perrie

Cast: Ken Loach, David Bradley, Freddie Fletcher, Lynne Perrie

 

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In this 1969 Ken Loach film, a 15-year-old named Billy Casper (played by acting newcomer David Bradley) suffers abuse both at home and at school in Yorkshire, England. At his home in the working-class section of Barnsley, Billy's brother beats him and his family neglects him. At school, most of his teachers ridicule and reject him, especially sadistic Mr. Sugden

Overview

In this 1969 Ken Loach film, a 15-year-old named Billy Casper (played by acting newcomer David Bradley) suffers abuse both at home and at school in Yorkshire, England. At his home in the working-class section of Barnsley, Billy's brother beats him and his family neglects him. At school, most of his teachers ridicule and reject him, especially sadistic Mr. Sugden (Brian Glover. Like other downtrodden children in an outmoded social system favoring the ruling class, Billy appears headed for a menial job with no future. Consequently, he has no motivation and nothing to look forward to, until the day he finds a kestrel -- a European falcon with the ability to hover against strong wind. The bird, a fledgling, is akin to the boy, who must withstand winds of his own. It is not surprising, therefore, that Billy finds meaning in befriending and caring for the baby kestrel. He raises, nurtures, and trains the falcon, whom he calls "Kes." Its development gives him hope that he too will one day develop, that he too will gain the skills to fly against the wind. Then Billy opts to spend his brother's track money on food for Kes, which sets the stage for a grave disagreement betwen the young men and an unhappy outcome.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Although made in two months for less than $400,000, this 1969 film achieved astounding success and acclaim, rightfully earning itself a place on almost everyone's list of best British films. It follows the fortunes -- or misfortunes -- of a downtrodden adolescent named Billy Casper, played superbly by David Bradley. Billy lives in the working-class section of Barnsley in Yorkshire, England. Abused and neglected at home and bullied and ridiculed at school, he finds purpose in raising and training a rescued kestrel, the only breed of falcon that peasants were permitted to own in feudal England. Billy and his little friend, whom he appropriately dubs "Kes," symbolize the sorry lot of the British underclass in a social system designed to produce submissive workers to serve the ruling elite. As a mere commoner, Billy doesn't count. He and his family are without title, without money, without status. So effective was the film in delivering its message -- without preaching, without sentimentality, but with welcome touches of humor -- that it became a model to be imitated in later films with similar themes. The script for the film was adapted from the popular Barry Hines book A Kestrel for a Knave. The film marked the debut of several of filmdom's finest talents, including director Ken Loach, cinematographer Chris Menges, and actors Colin Welland and Brian Glover. Welland plays Mr. Farthing, a teacher who encourages Billy, while Glover plays Mr. Sugden, a teacher who bullies Billy.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/19/2011
UPC:
0715515070515
Original Release:
1969
Rating:
PG-13
Source:
Criterion
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:51:00
Sales rank:
14,106

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
David Bradley Billy Casper
Freddie Fletcher Jud
Lynne Perrie Mrs. Casper
Colin Welland Mr. Farthing
Brian Glover Mr. Sugden
David Glover Tibbutt
Joey Kaye Comedian at Pub
Bill Dean Fish and Chip Shop Man
Harry Markham Actor
Bob Bowes Actor

Technical Credits
Ken Loach Director,Screenwriter
John Cameron Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Daphne Dare Costumes/Costume Designer
Tony Garnett Producer,Screenwriter
Barry Hines Screenwriter
Gerry Humphreys Sound/Sound Designer
Tony Jackson Sound/Sound Designer
William McCrow Art Director
Chris Menges Cinematographer
Roy Watts Editor

Scene Index

Making "Kes," a new documentary featuring Loach, Menges, Produce Tony Garnett, and Actor David Bradley; The Southbank Show: "Keith Loach," a 1993 Profile; Cathy Come Home (1966), an Early Television feature by Loach, with an afterword by Film Writer Graham Fuller; Alternate, internationally released soundtrack, with postsync dialogue; ; Original Theatrical Trailer; ; Plus: A booklet featuring an essay by Fuller

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Kes 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Operafan48 More than 1 year ago
"Kes" is a movie each viewer needs to discover for himself or herself. Its greatness lies in its utter simplicity and its no frills filmmaking. This story of an adolescent Yorkshire boy who trains a young kestrel to fly at his command is full of brilliant observations of everyday life in late '60s working class Britain. The boy is played is played, unforgettably, by David Bradley as Billy, a misunderstood, bullied and sensitive lad whose home life is compromised by a boorish older brother and a well-meaning but often neglectful mother. Life at school is just as bad, where teachers punish students unmercifully, mirroring their own unhappiness and inadequacies. A long, rather tortuous sequence of Billy and his classmates playing soccer in gym class on a muddy soccer field, overruled by a rather uncaring coach will bring back unpleasant memories for anyone who had to endure the indignities of gym class in high school. These troubling scenes at home and school are juxtaposed with Billy and training his kestrel. In these sequences the boy comes alive, full of life and purpose and his love for "Kes", his pet's name, is obvious in these scenes of the soaring bird flying to the young boy's commands. Director Ken Loach made many films in his illustrious career but "Kes" rightfully takes its place among the greatest British films of the 20th Century. Once you see this beautiful, often brutal and ultimately heartrending film, you will never forget it.