I was 14 and I didn't have many alternatives that the system offered me as the son of a labourer living in the North of England. Ken Loach was my kestrel. David Bradley uttered these words when Kes was released again in Britain's movie theatres in 1999 after 30 years. Loach was actually the kestrel of Bradley who shared the same faith with his leading character in the film. In 1968 Ken Loach was in the North of England, an industrial region, for his second feature film; to narrate a boy's character who is a failure because of his independent spirit conflicting with the tough authoritarian order, reaching the feeling of freedom hindered by his conservative family and school environment by his training a kestrel. The screenplay adapted from a Barry Hines' novel (some of his books would also be adapted later), "A Kestrel for a Knave", was the story of a child who explores that he can go further from his limited life conditions by finding out this focus where he can direct his love and interest. Loach selected Bradley, the son of a mineworker, who had no acting experience. He symbolized the efforts of individuals trapped in the system looking for the ways to get out in the unpleasant and gloomy setting of the mine town. He described the boy's identification process with the hunter bird's values such as modesty, respectability and self-esteem in a simple, effective and powerful cinematic language. Kes flows with a joy fed by irony and created by the contradictions of life. It succeeds in not being didactic when it emphasizes opportunity, inequality in labour class and criticizes the policy of traditional education. Pity and compassion for the poor, the feeling that the pains are shared or violent anger of being treated unfairly are not allowed to force the story. The kestrel with its abbreviation Kes in English, was the only hunter bird which peasants in the Middle Ages were allowed to own. This of course symbolizes worries of Loach and screenwriter produc

Ken Loach

Barry Hines
Ken Loach
Tony Garnett

Chris Menges

Roy Watts

Woodfall / Kestrel Film Production

Bob Bowes
Brian Glover
Colin Welland
David Bradley
Freddie Fletcher
Lynne Perrie
Robert Naylor

John Cameron

Best Supporting Actor British Academy Awards
Grand Prize Karlovy Vary; Best Promising Newcomer

7th Festival on Wheels