Kes

Kes

DVD - 2011
Average Rating:
8
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Billy Casper, a 15-year-old working class Yorkshire boy, is a scrappy loner who delivers papers before and after school, shares a bed with his bullying brother, Jud, and mostly ignores his self-absorbed mother. His routine is derailed when he spots a small falcon, a kestrel, in the countryside. He's raised birds in the past and is inspired to capture a young kestrel and try his hand at falconry. When not enduring the scorn of his peers and "betters," Billy wanders the countryside, pokes about the town, and secretively trains his kestrel, where his intelligence and imagination are as free as the bird. Because ever present in Billy's mind is fear and hatred of the pit--the local mine where he is destined to spend his adult life digging coal.

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h
hecto
Nov 11, 2017

Ken Loach's breakthrough film, digitally remastered by Criterion. Slow-paced, its message is conveyed obliquely, with some beautiful scenes. The contrast between the Billy who is always being put down as useless and the Billy who brilliantly describes to his class the (self-taught) techniques of falconry is wonderful. Not to be missed - but be sure to turn on the subtitles!

c
CatfoodShawn
Apr 17, 2017

I had no idea, when I checked out this DVD that it was a film made in 1970. After watching it, I'm still surprised at this information. What a beautiful piece of work. Highly recommended! Even my daughter, who usually doesn't respond to older, foreign, or slow-building films like this, found herself caught up in it all the way through. So glad to have found this.

n
Nursebob
Dec 12, 2014

Life in a dreary working class neighbourhood consists of grim conformity and casual cruelties, and no one knows this better than young Billy. With his father eternally absent he shares his modest family home with a violent narcissistic older brother and a harried mother whose tattered evening dress and sad eyes reflect her own dying dreams. All around him Billy is constantly reminded of the small hypocrisies inherent in society as those in charge repeatedly contradict themselves: there’s the coach who talks of nobility and fair play even as he cheats; the headmaster who lectures on self-respect while beating errant students with a cane; and the fellow classmates who won’t hesitate to betray one of their own. But when Billy acquires a baby falcon and teaches himself how to train it he glimpses a greater truth underlying the young bird’s fierce independence. There is a wild innocence, a single-minded rebelliousness to its soarings which speak to the lad and open his mind to the possibilities of life beyond the grey houses and weary adults that currently delineate his world. Unfortunately, childhood revelations all too often fall victim to the crushing realities of growing up poor and marginalized, a fact Billy has always suspected but until now has never paid much attention to. Will the delicate sense of mutual respect and dependence he’s nurtured with “Kes” be enough to carry him through this most crucial and painful time of his life? One of Ken Loach’s more nuanced films featuring some unbelievable performances from a cast of relative unknowns, especially David Bradley’s naturalistic turn as Billy. One word of caution however, if you’re not familiar with the harsh accent and turns of speech found in Britain’s South Yorkshire area be sure to turn on the English subtitles.

l
lpreston214
Dec 12, 2014

High on the list of all-time best British movies, Kes is the story of a teen-aged boy's relationship with a kestrel. Billy is tormented at school and at home and is looking toward a bleak future as he prepares to leave school. He takes a young kestrel from its nest and after reading a book about falconry patiently trains her and then flies her in an open field near his home. A wonderful, understated story with a serious core. Be sure to turn on the closed captioning as the accents are pretty thick.

owllover Apr 20, 2013

It wasn't a bad movie, but I just, plain couldn't get into it. Something about the way it was filmed felt very dry. And the sound quality was terrible and made the already impossible to understand accents even worse.

m
mjayh
Mar 31, 2013

A beautiful, insightful film with compelling performances.

j
jonnybroom
Mar 09, 2012

Beautiful film about disposable youth in 60s Britain. Wonderful performances from amateur actors. Quiet, unobtrusive style.

d
dprodrig
Sep 09, 2011

I had problems understanding even parts of the "international" dialogue and the lighting of the film was not to my taste, but that still didn't detract from the message within this film: About the value and light within humans despite class and educational differences.

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