Director: Ken Loach 
Release Date: 14th November 1969
Rating: PG
United Artists 

Some guy came into class a few months back, and he brought with him his love of Kes. He is what you would call a super fan. He talked Kes, he breathed Kes, he smelt Kes and he lived Kes. He even went off and did a documentary to find the boy as an adult, stalking him around every corner. People are hard to track down because they want to be hard to track down! But with all the Kes love in the air, I had to check it out at some point. And now I too can breathe a little bit of Kes.

Kes is a Northern adventure, somewhere right near where I live. It tells of a boy who finds and tames a Kestrel, while dealing with school life and family matters. Even though I’m a Northerner I found a lot of it hard to understand, and people have the same problem when I talk. I understand completely, I’m sorry. Billy Casper (David Bradley) is the name of the boy who starts playing with kestrels and he seems to be an alright kind of guy. He steals, jokes around and doesn’t seem to care much for the future. Kids don’t particularly like him and nor does his teachers or brother. With Kes he has a little place in the miserable looking country town. And we all need a little something up here to survive.

It’s a twee little story with dark shadows and a rather bleak ending, but it is also one full of fun thanks to the realistic humour. While I didn’t attend school in the 60s, the way the kids act in class and how the teachers react feels completely real. It’s as if they’ve just barged into a class with a camera and started filming. They did use real pupils and all, but it certainly has a different feel than most movie class rooms. I guess school never really changes.

Kes itself doesn’t feature quite as prominently as I was expecting so didn’t gain that attachment, but you gotta feel for Casper. No future and stuck in the country. Kes shows what future awaits a lot of us. I think I may have to start taking up falconry.


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