Kes

  • 1969
  • Movie
  • GP
  • Drama

Imagine THE 400 BLOWS reconfigured around a working class English boy living in a grimy industrial town and you get some idea of the emotional power of this bleakly realistic film adapted from a novel by Barry Hines. Billy Casper (Bradley) is the product of a broken home and the victim of school bullies. He takes refuge in his comic books and shoplifting....read more

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Imagine THE 400 BLOWS reconfigured around a working class English boy living in a grimy industrial town and you get some idea of the emotional power of this bleakly realistic film adapted from a novel by Barry Hines.

Billy Casper (Bradley) is the product of a broken home and the victim of school bullies. He takes refuge in his comic books and shoplifting. One day he finds a baby kestrel (a small falcon) and becomes determined to raise the bird. He names it "Kes" and promptly steals a book on falconry. He

becomes quite adept at his newfound skills and catches the eye of his teacher, Mr. Farthing (Welland). However his relationship with the beautiful bird cannot ameliorate his depressing home life with his brutish older brother, Jud (Fletcher). Nor does it change the fact that his future options are

severely limited by lack of class status, money, or family stability and support.

Though it's a sensitive and heartfelt film, KES never lapses into the sentimentality that often attends these "a boy and his pet" pictures. Ken Loach's low key, clear-eyed direction makes this a fairly unique "children's film." It is aided immeasurably by Chris Menges's naturalistic yet evocative

cinematography.

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  • Rating: GP
  • Review: Imagine THE 400 BLOWS reconfigured around a working class English boy living in a grimy industrial town and you get some idea of the emotional power of this bleakly realistic film adapted from a novel by Barry Hines. Billy Casper (Bradley) is the product… (more)

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