A Boy, A Bird and Bruises.
Taken from the Barry Hines novel (“A Kestrel for a Knave”) and adapted by Hines for Ken Loach (The Angel’s Share) to direct the ground breaking style of filming set within the coalfields of Barnsley UK.
Fifteen year old Billy Casper (David Bradley, Zulu Dawn) lives with his mother (Lynne Perrie, Coronation Street) and older brother Jud (Freddie Fletcher, Juggernaut) with whom he shares a single bed. Casper is bullied by Jud who takes the mickey out his reading skills and how he will end up down the coal pits like him, but Billy wants a different life but doesn’t know what or how yet.
At school he is always distracted and isn’t interested in any of his classes. What he does like is his paper-round, reading other people’s comics and acquiring milk and eggs from the local milkman (Duggie Brown, For the Love of Ada).
Whist out in the woods he come across a farm with a big derelict wall belonging to a farmer (Eric Bolderson). Billy spots a kestrel flying out of the wall and he watches it for a while as it flies about and hovers before going in for the kill and then flying back to its nest in the wall. He wants to rear a young bird and train it to hunt but the farmer won’t let him up the dangerous wall.
Billy isn’t a friend to himself as his indifference gets him more noticed than others at school, especially with P.E. teacher Mr Sugden (Brian Glover, Alien 3) who also picks on him and forces him to take a shower.
After a late night drinking session, Jud comes home drunk and has a go at Billy, which makes Billy run out of the house and heads for the kestrel nest. He steals one of the young chicks and put it in the garden shed.
Billy reverts to his thieving ways to get information on his kestrel so that he can train it up.
This is #151 of the Masters of Cinema series and with the special features this is one to own as this is in the top ten of the British Film Institute’s Top Ten (British) Films.
One boy and his kes.
SPECIAL FEATURES including:
Beautiful high-definition restoration, supervised by Ken Loach and director of photography Chris Menges
Uncompressed PCM audio
Original British soundtrack and international, partially dubbed soundtrack
Original theatrical trailer
New and archival interviews with cast and crew
A booklet featuring new writing on the film and archival material