Berlinale: Programme

Film file



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Billy Casper is 14 and lives in the northern English mining town of Barnsley. He is neglected by his single mother, terrorized by his older brother, humiliated by sadistic teachers and bullied by his schoolmates. The sensitive loner finds solace in raising a young kestrel he has taken from its nest and christened ‘Kes’. The young boy devotes himself to caring for and training the bird, until one day Billy’s brother takes the cruelest of revenges on him for a perceived transgression … ‘Fact and Fiction’ is the heading on the blackboard when Billy’s sympathetic English teacher helps the introverted boy to open up by delivering a report about his falcon. Like so much of Ken Loach’s later work, Kes combines a sensitive portrait of an adolescent with a detailed depiction of working-class life in a small town. Influenced by the films of the Czech New Wave, Loach and his cinematographer Chris Menges developed a style of objective but sensitive observation, with the camera reacting spontaneously to events, making Kes a cornerstone work of European neorealist cinema.

United Kingdom 1969, 113 min


Ken Loach


David Bradley
Colin Welland
Lynne Perrie