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- 111 min.
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Really great movie. Simple story, well told, well filmed. It made me remember of the silent kids in the class, who never tell stories, who are always reluctant to participate and who always seem forgotten unless there's trouble. It makes me think of the people I know who gone through shit, and never had support to learn to cope with it. It's satisfying to see the old teachers and authority figures being so pathetic and ignorant, yet trying. They seem to be aware that they can't help these boys escaping from a sad life, and seem as convinced of their uselessness as the kids.
Many movies and books have caught the suffering and pride and the hopes and despairs of mining towns, but none as naturally as this one.
There are wonderful moments of kindness that warm up the whole movie. There's the confirmation that there's something out there for all of us, an activity in which we can get lost, feel that flow.
The kid acts really well! And he fits so well in the story, his skinny body, his small eyes, his expression of being used to injustice and confusion, but still sensitive. He feels always out of place except when he is with his bird or tells about it.
Similar feeling as 'my childhood' (https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/my+childhood/)
ps: I love the accents, many movies seem to be scared of it, but it offers so much: diversity, immersion, realism...
David Bradley’s performance as Billy Casper is incredible. There is something magical about the fringes of a town where it meets the country, where space opens out and a different kind of solitude becomes possible.
I've got an ear for accents, but we're so deep in Yorkshire in Ken Loach's Kes that I might have needed subtitles. But Loach's approach is immersive faux documentary. It feels like we're watching real people (and we are, there are lot of non-actors) in real places, really speaking and living. The plot summary sounds like a heart-warming family picture - a poor, bullied boy finds solace in training a kestrel - but it really avoids formula, putting the bird sometimes far in the background to focus on school and family life (where the boy, Casper, is constantly brow-beaten and sometimes just plain beaten - the P.E. sequences gave me PTSD) and opting for literary naturalism where you just can't get out of the pit no matter how hard you try. To me, the most touching moment is when Casper is asked to talk about his hobby in front of the class and for the first time this kid who's neither good at academics, sports nor socializing comes alive. In another film, that would have propelled him into a secure or happy future, but Loach is too realistic for that. The movie ended, and I found I was openly weeping. For Casper, for my young self who was also into some niche thing more than I was into people, for billions of misfit kids throughout history who were abused or ignored by a system they never made.
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In 11 official lists
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This movie ranks #4 in Time Out's The 100 Best British Films
This movie ranks #7 in BFI's Top 100 British Films
This movie ranks #156 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #164 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
This movie ranks #183 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #259 in Eureka!'s The Masters of Cinema Series
This movie ranks #297 in Mark Cousins's The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #476 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #493 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #495 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #643 in The Criterion Collection