Director: Kenneth Loach
Cast: David Bradley, Brian Glover, Freddie Fletcher
Kes, that iconic and unflinching portrait of Barnsley working class life, was almost made by Disney - complete with happy ending - but its author thankfully objected. This was Barry Hines's (Threads) first collaboration with director Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake), based on Hines's own novel Kestrel for a Knave. Billy Caspar (David Bradley) is an abused and excluded teenager, who finds purpose in training his pet kestrel. Billy's brother Jud (Freddie Fletcher) - himself brutalised by the coal industry - decides to take revenge on Billy for failing to place a bet, with devastating consequences. The British Film Institute has ranked Kes at number seven in its Top Ten British Films. Barry Hines (1939-2016) was Yorkshire Arts Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Sheffield, 1972 to 1974; the Western Bank library is holding the art exhibition Untameable, based on its own Hines archive, from 14 October to 16 December 2019.
Introduction to the film by Dr David Forrest