« Death at a Funeral | Main | Handsome Harry »

April 17, 2010

Kes - Classic Film Pick

Kes poster Based on schoolteacher Barry Hines's 1968 novel "A Kestrel for a Knave," Ken Loach's 1969 verité film, marked the filmmaker's departure from the BBC television system where he learned his craft. With producer Tony Garnett, Loach had won kudos for his social realist films about such sensitive issues as abortion ("Up the Junction" - 1965) and homelessness ("Cathy Come Home" - 1966). For "Kes," Loach and Garnett created their own production company and cast a young amateur actor named David Bradley to play the story's oppressed 13-year-old protagonist Billy Casper. In the working class town of Barnsley Billy has been in trouble with the law and is still paying off his fines--a predicament that limits his options after secondary school. Billy lives in a tiny ramshackle house with his emotionally remote mother and physically abusive half-brother Jud, with whom Billy shares a small bed. At school Billy is mistreated by his teachers. His marginal behavior does little to dispel their opinion of him as a "hopeless case" whose future lies in the area's coal mines. But Billy's personal outlook brightens when he discovers a kestrel nest and teaches himself, with a book he steals from a secondhand bookstore, to care for and train the bird that he steals from its fragile home. With the help of gifted cinematographer Chris Menges, Ken Loach creates an incredibly powerful film that purposefully examines the dire social conditions of a system that threatens to squeeze out all the individuality of its youth. "Kes" is an essential document of '60s British culture that comes from a deeply personal place yet resonates across all cultures.   


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Kes - Classic Film Pick:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Featured Video




Throwback Thursday