Kes

It’s more than 40 years since Ken Loach shot ‘Kes’ in South Yorkshire, taking in school and home life in an area where nature meets the mining industry on the skyline – and now the BFI is giving his most enduring film an extended run as part of a two-month season of his work.

After making television films and ‘Poor Cow’ (1967), Loach made ‘Kes’ (1969), the story of Billy Casper (David Bradley), a smart but wayward schoolboy who lives near Barnsley with his mother and older brother and who, despite a quick mind and tongue, has a reputation as a rogue. ‘Kes’ marked a new maturity and stillness in Loach’s work, which doesn’t mean it’s without energy or humour – it has both in spades.

Loach found fitting partners in cinematographer Chris Menges – who translated Loach’s eye and ear for documentary-style realism into a quiet form of observation, using natural light – and writer Barry Hines, whose novel ‘A Kestrel for Knave’ the script was adapted from and whose  compassion and knack for everyday dialogue runs through the film.

 The ideas in ‘Kes’ on the role of both teachers and parents emerge naturally and gently from vital, believable portrayals. It’s a bird, of course, that gives the film its name and the scenes with Billy and his falcon are undoubtedly special and tender. But in the end, ‘Kes’ is one of the most astute, engaged films about education and what it takes for kids to be excited about learning or passionate about anything, really, whether in the classroom or roaming the fields with a feathered friend.

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday September 9 2011
Duration: 113 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ken Loach
Screenwriter: Barry Hines, Tony Garnett, Ken Loach
Cast: David Bradley
Lynne Perrie
Freddie Fletcher
Colin Welland
Brian Glover
Bob Bowes
Robert Naylor

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|15
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Steve

Amazing movie. Loved it for years. Let my 4 year old watch it for the first time last week. Think it's gonna have to grow on him tho.

Steve

Amazing movie. Loved it for years. Let my 4 year old watch it for the first time last week. Think it's gonna have to grow on him tho.

IzzyC

At all levels... an amazing film! (Forty years ago? and doesn't feel a day old).

IzzyC

At all levels... an amazing film! (Forty years ago? and doesn't feel a day old).

Chaipup

Phillip Donald: For somebody who can't even write a coherent sentence I'm sure nobody will take your review as anything but childish. This film should be a national treasure. Ken Loach uses real people as the main characters in this film. This is where the film gets its true authenticity.

Chaipup

Phillip Donald: For somebody who can't even write a coherent sentence I'm sure nobody will take your review as anything but childish. This film should be a national treasure. Ken Loach uses real people as the main characters in this film. This is where the film gets its true authenticity.

Chonny

I am publess, have a small penis,chinese, i am the mostn annoying person in the world,i am fat,i am saggy,ugly and my name is CHONNY BTW the film was very good

Chonny

I am publess, have a small penis,chinese, i am the mostn annoying person in the world,i am fat,i am saggy,ugly and my name is CHONNY BTW the film was very good

chonny

I cant see to much hair in way. in fact i cant see fullstop my jacket is gay but the film is good