Kes (1969)

Kes (1969) movie poster

director Ken Loach
viewed: 02/10/2017

Have you ever heard a Barnsley accent? I lived in Sheffield for a number of months a long time ago, and I when I hear or see “Barnsley”, I hear it in a Barnsley tone, maybe because that is how everyone jokingly said it.

My guess is the average person unfamiliar with the accent would likely get maybe every fifth word out of Ken Loach’s breakthrough film, Kes. Shot on location in a depressed North Yorkshire town, Kes tells the story of a young working-class boy in a world all kinds of unkind and unpromising. David Bradley plays Billy, one of many, if not most all non-actor performers in a remarkable role as the boy who teaches himself to train a kestrel.

Akin to Neorealism or Cinéma vérité, Loach’s film is highly naturalistic, and as is often the case in his work, interested in the lives of the working class. Kes depicts a harsh world of brutish boys, fascistic coaches, an inattentive mother, and the cruelest older brother of all time.

Kes is considered one of the best British films, appearing on a number of lists. I’ve only seen two of Loach’s films so far. It’s quite good. Still considering it.

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