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4.2
1,676 Ratings

Kes

Directed by Ken Loach
United Kingdom, 1969
Drama

Synopsis

Bullied at school and ignored and abused at home by his indifferent mother and older brother, Billy Casper, a 15-year-old working-class Yorkshire boy, tames and trains his pet kestrel falcon whom he names Kes.

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Kes Directed by Ken Loach
Loach tends to make films that are blunt, terse and didactic (often unapologetically so), and Kes is a story which (still) transcends time and place in its exploration into the limits of personal freedom. Knock-kneed northern runt Billy Casper (David Bradley) is like a walking whipping boy for everyone he encounters.
November 11, 2016
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Despite the overt symbolism of the bird, the film never feels contrived or hackneyed. Loach’s great accomplishment is that he manages to illicit pathos without relying on cheap sentimentality. Though the film is relentlessly bleak, there are moments of comic relief (most notably the football scene), and Billy retains some glimmer of resilience until the very end.
January 13, 2012
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Working out of his own production company instead of the BBC, Loach adapts the novel by Barry Hines (like Bradley, the son of miner), observing faces and places with semistaged candor taking its cue from Forman and Menzel rather than the unchained egotism of Angry Young Man theater.
May 01, 2011
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What are people saying?

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film Kes

    At his best, Ken Loach has a style so unadorned that it seems as if a camera isn't even there, and this is indeed Loach at his best: the brute force of a teen's working-class education played off against the more sensitive way the boy fosters his pet falcon. It's a tender study of thwarted childhood—and it gets away with an ending that shows how much Loach, as a storyteller, could resort to brute force himself.

  • Ghostman's rating of the film Kes

    One of the great coming of age films. Its power comes from its unflinching look at working class life; with sharp social commentary on the nigh pre-determined fates of those neglected by society. Starring non-actors, it has an authenticity that's remarkable & its unsentimental view is refreshing from the overwrought cock & bull blockbusters we get on a weekly basis. Timeless & unforgettable, Kes is one for the ages.

  • Pierluigi Puccini's rating of the film Kes

    An achingly beautiful tale. The bucolic music and the landscapes wandered by the formidable protagonist child and his trained kestrel, embellish the cold and austere north of England. The child's tender look upon the bird is that of yearning, beyond the predicaments of acceptance raised in his school and in his own home. Its gritty, unapologetic and sometimes despairing naturalism hits delicate fibres.

  • Checkpoint Charlie's rating of the film Kes

    Childhood as a revolving door of oppression and torment. And though it is most appropriate with the ending it has, I still felt a bit of something of missing. Even still, it is something kids in their teens today could see and identify with; just because you're young doesn't mean your life is any easier than anybody else's, and for some youngsters it's even harder.

  • Francisco R.'s rating of the film Kes

    I grew fond of the amateur actors, all with the right faces, moves and sounds, I grew fond of their simple lives and the very tough reality they convey, but after all I realized how little it takes to salvage a boy's life from its dooming future and how little it takes to leave it back to where it was. A social commentary, a parable, a neorealist masterpiece.

  • comeandsee's rating of the film Kes

    this is one of the greatest films of all time i believe. very few other people, if any are so able to tap into the spirit of the working class as ken loach. the plot is deceptively simple with one boy and his pet, but loach also takes it to another level. the dialogue, the every day events and the relatable qualities are all pitched to a tee. visually, thematically and emotionally perfect. i love this one.

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Kes

    Second film directed by Ken Loach and cinematography by Chris Menges. Maybe Ken Loach's masterpiece. At least to me.

  • Ardhi Syaifuddin's rating of the film Kes

    Second viewing, with subtitles. Boy, it DOES make a difference. The physical education scene is hilarious but painful to watch at the same time.

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