Monday, November 28, 2005
Movies You Probably Don't Know, Part One
Considered by the British Film Institute to be one of the 10 greatest British films of all time, Ken Loach's first film, 1969's "Kes," is virtually unknown in the USA. "Kes" is the story of a boy growing up in a working class community in northern England, as the coal mines were dying in the 1960's. As his family struggles through strikes and desperation, Billy finds a small bit of solace training a wild hawk. It is said to be a gritty commentary on the social upheavals that were beginning to sweep across England at the time. It's intense, emotional, and deeply effecting. It feels painfully authentic.
Unless you can find custom dubs on Ebay or in specialty video stores, "Kes" is not currently available here in the United States. PAL (European) format DVD's are available overseas. Like several other Ken Loach films, "Kes" also presents another challenge for the American audience: the thick northern English accents may be virtually impossible to understand at times. When I first saw this film on VHS, I had to view the film two or three times to really get a sense of what was going on. The DVD version offers English subtitles, which would be helpful (if you have a multi-region DVD player).