All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1187. An easy way of seeing how…
They beat him. They deprived him. they ridiculed him. They broke his heart but they couldn't break his spirit.
A young, English working-class boy spends his free time caring for and training his pet falcon.
Only his second feature, Kes remains one of Ken Loach's distinctive, largely because the working style we now associate with him was first set here.
Gone are some of the more mannered techniques he had used in his BBC plays in favour of a more realistic, observer style that owes its roots in the Czech cinema he was so fond of.
Also gone is the uneasy compromise he made on his first feature, Poor Cow, to include a star name in his work in the shape of Terence Stamp. From hereon in, Ken Loach films would cast non actors and amateurs, real people in lead roles and none were perhaps so distinctive as the young schoolboy David Bradley who bagged…
3rd viewing. still absolutely slaughters me. This viewing was a far greater revelation for me though. Every single one of Loach's luminous frames clicked this time and quietly dovetailed into what I am now quite sure is the greatest Coming-of-Age drama out there.
David Bradley's face maps the plight of every child who has been denied the privileged, Disney Channel idea of childhood. His is the type of limited, oppressive upbringing that has produced the miserable bunch of grown ups populating this film. The phys ed teacher who dreamed of playing Premier League football and now has to live out the dregs of his dream playing against primary school boys. The Headmaster, who led the pack of troublemakers in his…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ken Loach's second - and still best - feature is this stunning translation of the Barry Hines novel, with David Bradley perfect as malnourished Barnsley school leaver Billy Casper, who escapes the drudgery of pit village life through his friendship with a savage, graceful hawk.
The hawk represents hope, freedom, aspiration and poetry - none of which are allowed to survive in a Britain that kicks the shit out of its working classes, breeding only vicious alpha males peddling mundane brutality and sadistic teachers blinkeredly hurling their young charges onto the scrapheap.
Though it's lit by frequent flashes of wry humour, glorious music and cinematography, and moments of transcendent escape redolent with rare beauty, it's ultimately a chilling depiction of utter hopelessness; one that packs a devastating emotional wallop, tha knows.
The shitty poster catchphrase implies that this is maybe an 'and-they-all-lived-Happily-Ever-After' story but more than anything Loach examines the changing UK landscape and the static architecture that resides within the landscape, slowly leading Kes into a stand-in antithesis to the coming-of-age film.
There's something about Kes that is mesmeric that goes beyond filmmaking. Every frame, every line of dialogue is purposeful, it keeps the narrative flowing, whilst we the viewer become immersed in Billy's character and the constant barrage of impasses he faces.
The solace in a Kestrel in which Billy finds, is all the more potent when the evils of the finale come to fruition. It's at that moment that Billy's innocence is lost forever. Truly heartbreaking.
The cover is more dramatic than the movie.
Sweet kid with heart.
Good, but its impatience in certain scenes hinders me from completely embracing it.
This film's camerawork reminded me of Son of Saul's, except in a subtler way. Both establish the feeling of entrapment, of a lost character. I appreciate that this camera isn't omniscient; while it can certainly be a cool effect, here it's extremely effective, even more so after the sequence in which Billy talks about Kes in detail, an extremely engaging scene that works very well.
The direction by Ken Loach isn't just restricted to that lost feeling, however; Loach uses vibrant color and spot-on framing to create beautiful images. It also captures the magnificent performances by the entire cast of untrained actors; David Bradley is magnificent as Billy, a character whom you always like but can see why he's not going anywhere in life. I like everything about the film except for the classroom sequences, which never felt real.
An experience of empathy and beauty. Just make sure to watch it with subtitles on.
100th review (backlogging reviews onto earlier entries notwithstanding)!
Beautifully shot, Kes is an ambient, sensitive film about the trappings and judgements of the adolescent, and to this day is still, undoubtably, a classic.
There's an enchanting quality in it's vivid colours portrayed in gritty 16mm, itself reflective of the harsh setting that forces itself upon our child protagonist. We experience his struggle, his humiliation and the way in which he fights back against the powers that be, all a backdrop to the joy and escape he experiences in tending to a pet, a friend, a consolation. So when that ending comes? Boy, it hurts.
Although Ken Loach and Mike Leigh are often grouped together as the leading figures of British 'kitchen sink' realism, I tend to think of Leigh as being more focused on nuanced, complex characterization whereas I associate Loach more with earnest, topical, "social issue" dramas. As such, I've half-purposely avoided seeing much of Loach's work over the years, but I figured this early and universally-acclaimed film was a pretty safe bet. If nothing else, I can definitely see how hugely influential it's been on what has now become practically an entire tradition of gritty British coming-of-age films, from Lynne Ramsay's Ratcather to Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank (which pretty much borrows this film's central conceit wholesale but replaces the titular hawk with…
One of the depictions of British school life, still relatable over four decades later. Ken Loach created a definitive British film with Kes, a crowd-pleasing yet surprisingly dark and mature coming-of-age drama.
The only reason Kes is slightly less than perfect is Billy Casper himself, who can be irritatingly passive and brings on a lot of misfortune himself, while his brother Jud is too one note, bordering on moustache-twirling villain.
AM FROM BARNSLEH AND AM NOT GUWIN T' WORK DAHN'T PIT
Impossible to watch without subtitles. Amazing performance by David Bradley.
I liked this more than I thought I would. Still not great though. This is the second Ken Loach film I've seen and I've kinda learned to hate him after enduring a year of film studies where we had to study Sweet Sixteen and hear a teacher talk about him like he was the second coming of Christ.
Much like Sweet Sixteen, this is another film about social issues, but this time in the UK and with a boy and his bird. I had a really hard time understanding the accents, so quite a bit of dialogue was lost on me.
Within the first 5 minutes you are completely against the lead. He steals a comic, chocolate bar, eggs and…
A heartbreaking 'coming of age' film that can resonate with just about anyone no matter where they are from. It has its moments of beauty though that make it worthwhile. It's bleak but it is full of life. The director goes on to make a handful of other great movies but this ones is more likely to stick with you than the others. Some might even argue that "Kes" is Ken Loach's best film. It bears a resemblance to older similar classics but I think the setting here is what makes it stand out from them. What makes this film have lots of heart is that it promotes education, knowledge, and following one's passion among kids. If it weren't for…
High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.