July 24, 2014

Films

Kes – 1969 | 110 mins | Drama | Colour

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Plot Synopsis

Kes

Ken Loach‘s 1969 movie debut remains one of his most affecting, examining those same themes of social and spiritual poverty and the struggle for individuality which inform all his work, but here with a child’s sense of the ridiculous and the unjust.

Kes is a story of Barnsley boy Billy Casper (David Bradley), academic failure and eternal victim, who finds release and a sense of personal identity through training the eponymous kestrel. Committed to falconry in a way he’ll never be to anything at school, Billy gets abuse from his snotty peers and malicious PE teacher Mr. Sugden (Brian Glover, typically brilliant and bullish). Only buoyant Mr. Farthing (Colin Welland) shows any interest in Billy’s extracurricular activities as, he discovers this apparently useless layabout is actually highly intelligent and dedicated.

Despite its mixture of gritty classroom politics and downbeat social comment, Kes is truly funny, especially whenever the dictatorial Sugden – familiar to anyone who’s spent hours running around a field aimlessly on wet Wednesday afternoons – strides into view. It’s message may be bleak but, unlike in some of his later work, Loach never lets polemic or pessimism overwhelm a good story.

Production Team

Ken Loach: Director
William McCrow: Art Direction
Chris Menges: Cinematography
Daphne Dare: Costume Design
Roy Watts: Editing
John Cameron: Original Music
Tony Garnett: Producer
Kenneth Loach: Script
Tony Garnett: Script
Gerry Humphreys: Sound Dept
Tony Jackson: Sound Dept

Cast

David Bradley: Billy Casper
Freddie Fletcher: Jud
Lynne Perrie: Mrs Casper
Colin Welland: Mr Farthing
Brian Glover: Mr Sugden
Bob Bowes: Mr Gryce



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