Sep 18, 2007

Screening on 07th Oct 2007: KES

Film by Ken Loach
Country : England
Year : 1969
Duration : 110 Minutes
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium , Ganapathy CBE
07th October 2007 ; 5.45 pm
Call 94430 39630

Ranked seventh in the British Film Institute's recent selection of the 100 favourite British films of the 20th century, Kes remains Ken Loach's masterpiece. While the director has reached similar aesthetic heights in subsequent years (Days of Hope [1975] and Raining Stones [1993] immediately spring to mind), the film remains a template for Loach's abiding concerns: the struggle of the British working class to achieve life's basic needs, dramatised through the plight of an individual character; the significant impact of public institutions upon personal lives; sensitive performances with an ear for regional dialects; and an unobtrusive yet evocative visual style that illuminates character and place in a naturalistic fashion. Arriving as the '60s drew to a close, Kes heralds the end of “kitchen sink realism” and the true arrival of one of contemporary cinema's major artists.

Click here to watch the trailer of the film 'KES'

Kes details the life of Billy Casper (David Bradley), a lonely teen facing a bleak future in a Yorkshire mining town. An outcast at school, Billy's slight frame and unkempt appearance make him an easy target for teachers and bullies alike. Unfortunately, home provides no respite. Billy's father is absent, his inattentive mother (Lynne Perrie) offers little guidance or love (referring to Billy as “a hopeless case”), and his abusive older brother Jud (Freddie Fletcher) takes out his hostility through punches and insults. However, hope appears in the form of a kestrel, which Billy captures as a fledgling and trains to fly on command. Soon, the bird reveals not only Billy's untapped potential, but also his desire to escape his toxic environment. It's no accident, of course, that Billy is obsessed with the only bird owned by the lowest social orders during medieval times. As Loach notes, “It's a bird for the riff-raff of the world.”

Ken Loach

Born in 1936 at Nuneaton,Warwickshire, England (his father was a factory electrician), Loach attended King Edward VIGrammar School and following two years in the RAF read law at St Peter's College, Oxford. There he performed in the now well established comedy group, the Oxford Revue. He started out as an actor in repertory theatre, but in the early 1960s moved into television direction and was credited in this role on early episodes of Z-Cars in 1962.

In 1966 Loach made the socially influential docu-drama Cathy Come Home portraying neglected subjects such as homelessness and unemployment, and presenting a powerful and influential critique of the workings of the Social Services. In the late 1960s he started directing films, and in 1969 made Kes, the story of a troubled boy and his kestrel, based on the novel A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines. It remains perhaps his best known film in Britain. Till 1990 he faced many difficulties with his projects.

Loach experienced a miraculous, creative resurgence in the 1990s with the advent of Channel 4 funding and producers Sally Hibbin and Rebecca O'Brien. His recent films invest warmth and humour in their characters' plights while allowing political alternatives to develop naturally out of the narratives. Like Cathy Come Home or Kes, they also sympathetically address the issues facing working class families, including union politics (Riff Raff [1991], Bread and Roses [2000]), familial difficulties (Raining Stones, Ladybird Ladybird [1994]), drugs and alcoholism (My Name is Joe [1998], Sweet Sixteen [2002]) and contemporary political struggles (Hidden Agenda [1990], Carla's Song [1996]) and Wind That Shakes The Barely [2006].

Ken Loach is a director admired, and often loved, all over the world. For his remarkable output, Loach has won numerous international prizes and long overdue critical recognition . Despite political ebb and flow, fickle artistic trends and film financing difficulties, he remains steadfast in his commitment to progressive ideals and a personal cinema. Loach's films are art of the highest order. While exposing the failings and limitations of human experience, they also provide a path to change and progress. His body of work firmly celebrates the fact that life is worth living.

Courtesy : Senses Of Cinema , Wikipedia .

No comments: