Film: Kes pg rating Year: 1969
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Country: UK Genre: Drama
Director: Ken Loach
Starring: David Bradley, Brian Glover, Colin Welland, Lynne Perrie

Also see our Guide to Ken Loach, or visit our Ken Loach UK or Ken Loach US stores, or see our reviews of other Ken Loach films It's A Free World, Looks And Smiles, My Name Is Joe, The Navigators, Poor Cow, Raining Stones, Riff Raff, Sweet Sixteen and The Wind That Shakes The Barley.

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Kes Synopsis - The story follows the life of Billy Casper. He lives in an industrial town in the north of England at the end of the 1960's. Like all industrial towns it has seen better days, and life for everyone is hard. Casper is on the cusp of leaving school and will end up working in a factory or manual job. The school is tough (as are both the teachers and the kids) and is seen to need to be that way in order to prepare the kids for the harsh realities of life that await them in the "real world" of work. Billy's life seems mapped out for both him and all around him - hard manual work if he wants to survive. The only escape he has from the harsh drudgery of his life is with the training of a kestrel (Kes) that he has reared and trained. But how long can he hold on to this thing of beauty.

Review of Kes - Kes is an extraordinary and beautiful film. Ken Loach has strived for a kind of naturalistic acting style to this film (and many of his others). Many of the kids he chose had never acted in anything before and they are fantastic, as are the adult actors. Colin Welland, Lynne Perrie, Freddie Fletcher and Brian Glover ( particularly amusing as the overbearing "big kid" of a games master) all of whom understand exactly what Ken Loach wants stylistically. Loach's casting of both the right type "experienced" actors alongside those with little or none previous acting experience works tremendously well and helps make this film seem very real.
The reasons I recommend Kes are: 1. The "acting" of the kids is spellbinding. 2. The industrial landscape scenery is breathtaking. 3. It's practically a history lesson of a section of this country's life in the late 1960s. 4. The soundtrack of late 60's folksy flute music is gorgeous.