Monday, May 30, 2016

Kes (1969)

Director: Ken Loach
Writers:  Barry Hines, Ken Loach, Tony Garnett
Cast:       David Bradley, Brian Glover, Freddie Fletcher

A young, English working-class boy spends his free time caring for and training his pet falcon which he doesn't really consider as a typical pet.

The film is an adaptation of Barry Hines' 1968 novel 'A Kestrel for a Knave' and was the first major film directed by Ken Loach. In what was a spooky coincidence, he won Palme D'Or at Cannes just after I had finished watching this film which was on my watch-list for so long. The only other film that I had seen of his previously was the Cillian Murphy starring 'The wind that Shakes the Barley' which was quite brutal. Kes is also quite brutal, all things considered, even though not in the same way. Billy is raised by his single mother and got a an elder brother who is sort of the bully of his house. He also gets plenty of bullying in his school even though he is not portrayed as the typical victim in these circumstances. He can take care of himself and doesn't have a care in the world, except for the falcon that he acquires and trains using a stolen book. His non-conformity in terms of what is expected of a working class kid makes him a target for many. It basically deals with how it is for a kid from his background where all his aspirations, not in a melodramatic way, are broken down gradually due to his circumstances and surroundings. 

When it comes to it, the fate of Kes is quite predictable but that does't really affect your perception of the film. The performances from all are great and especially the kid. Film is quite bleak visually keeping in with its theme. Its story is something that would be made in a quite melodramatic fashion if it was an American film. Ken Loach and Mike Leigh are considered as the torch-bearers of what can be considered as neo-realism in British film industry. I am more familiar with the work of the latter and 'Naked' is among my all-time favorite. 

Rating: 5/5