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 Posted:   Mar 27, 2021 - 11:40 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

A film I've always loved is "Kes" with a subtle score by John Cameron.

That is the opening statement in an OP from 2003 by a colleague who recently recommended Kes for my viewing consideration.

His referral came on the heels of my waxing prosaic over the latest airing of Chariots Of Fire on TCM. That film's setting included one of the foremost institutions of higher learning the world over, and it seems the great majority of UK films I've seen involving education involve students of the elite: Goodbye, Mr. Chips, The Browning Version and The History Boys, to name a few.

I wanted to see something along the lines of education vis-à-vis the working class stiff. The referral proved spot-on.

I am haunted by the story of ”Billy Casper,” a 15-year-old in the North who is small for his age and is relentlessly bullied by other kids, teachers, an older half-brother and just about everybody else in his dead-end world who are determined to keep him there. I am exhilarated by his understated resiliency as he picks himself up after every knockdown. I am moved pondering over the scene when the tables are turned as he takes over and regales the class with the joys of training the kestrel bird from which the nickname and film title derive...and heartbroken when he is bullied and beaten in the very next moments atop a mound of coal sitting right there on the wretched school's property.

I am also enamored of the beauty and humility in the scoring of Billy's treks through the lush greenery of the countryside. The composer's approach reflects the cinematic approach taken by the rest of the film's creators, that of presenting the reality of life in the mining town and the reality PERIOD with the veritable caste system in place from which there is little chance of rising above. Nor encouragement to do just so.

The music, as such, doesn't judge the situation, it dignifies the individual—even the older brother on his lonesome way to work—and together with the image is a soothing experience to listen to and behold.

 
 Posted:   Mar 27, 2021 - 11:54 PM   
 By:   steffromuk   (Member)

This movie is in my all time favorite list. And the score is perfect. I don't have anything to ad to your description. It's spot on!

 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 12:07 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)




"I take the penalties in this team!"

I think nearly every kid in the uk in the 60s n 70s experienced an obnoxious bullying sports master as portrayed by Glover. A man so sad he would foul kids and cheat to win.

And we've all played in teams like that...worst kid gets put in goal, some kids standing around with hands in pockets, some climbing the goalposts, the greedy dribblers who dont pass, the kid heading with glasses, fat kid with tits, etc etc.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 5:50 AM   
 By:   George Flaxman   (Member)

I used to say "I don't want to play at all", before I ended up in goal... Needless to say I was too young then to use the "I collect soundtracks" defence.

Boris J. seems to have used much of your described strategies in his bid for leadership.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 6:20 AM   
 By:   FalkirkBairn   (Member)

Kes, a film I have not seen in years, is excellent. The clip of Glover and the football match is always the clip that gets shown when the movie is spoken about.

Bill Forsyth's GREGORY'S GIRL came immediately to mind when seeing the kids at school playing football. A more lighthearted movie compared to KES, there's more I recognise in Gregory school.

Colin Tully's light, jazzy style for the score certainly feels of the time and the theme occasionally features in compilation albums.

 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 6:38 AM   
 By:   Nyborg   (Member)

Loach has another film about youth, although it's a historical piece, that he made around the same time, called Black Jack, about a kid trying to take care of a mad girl. It's easy to see why it's not nearly so well known as Kes, as it requires some effort - it's shrouded in a very grimy, low-end view of the eighteenth century, and, as ever with Loach, in great floods of natural dialect, bantered back and forth in wide, loose shots. It's well worth it though.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 8:47 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

I think nearly every kid in the uk in the 60s n 70s experienced an obnoxious bullying sports master as portrayed by Glover. A man so sad he would foul kids and cheat to win.

You know, this scene I could relate to on one level. It's the way he busted the kids chops and how they, in turn, busted his. I found their rapport hilarious, it was just the way things were with me and the teens during my sports coaching days. Made for good chemistry and we went places. But the mean streak within came out of nowhere when he smacked Billy on the side of the head as a way of getting him into the showers. And then the sadist within came out.

The smack was so spontaneous and casual that it jolted me. A very disturbing moment. Even if Billy shrugged it off. Nasty conditioning, nonetheless.

And we've all played in teams like that...worst kid gets put in goal, some kids standing around with hands in pockets, some climbing the goalposts, the greedy dribblers who dont pass, the kid heading with glasses, fat kid with tits, etc etc.

Oh yeah. Memories of kids always picked last. And it doesn't matter whether it's sports masters or teachers or administrators or yes, heads of state(!); the mentality of motivation by humiliation is everywhere. Never have had a stomach for it.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 8:48 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score by John Cameron.

I may have to see this.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 8:58 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Bill Forsyth's GREGORY'S GIRL came immediately to mind when seeing the kids at school playing football. A more lighthearted movie compared to KES, there's more I recognise in Gregory school.

Oh we are on the same page, FB. Thank you for the pleasant reminder; I saw it at the cinema during its American release. The ending remains fresh in mind. What a wonderful little film about small town Scottish kids in their high school years. Now I want to rewatch it for the first time. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 9:09 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score by John Cameron.

I may have to see this.


Caveat Emptor: Subtitles are a must!

 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 9:22 AM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)

I'm so happy this film has touched you Howard.

I relate to the film not just because I grew up in the mining town of Barnsley, same as Billy Casper, but because I attended the actual school it was filmed in. Some of my teachers (such as Mr. Hesketh) are in the film, and I recognize the boy's changing rooms, football field, classrooms and assembly hall as my own.

And, yes, I can speak the dialect, still. Or should I say, "A' can still talk t' Tyke, tha' knows."

But it's not just because of my personal connection.

It's a film that talks to the inescapable the fate of children in the economically poor North then.

It's a film that talks to the nature of bullying, of dads who bully big brothers, big brothers who bully little brothers, little brothers who bully anyone who marks themselves as a victim, of teachers that bully students, and how the economic circumstances bully everybody.

It's also a film that see hope in one boy's heart.

What makes the film so brilliant is that it refuses to over-dramatize or stylize anything. The camera acts like the neutral observer that tells the truth and refuses to get emotionally involved.

But for it's despair it also has perfectly timed moments of humor, like the boy who gets mistakenly punished when all he was doing was delivering a message from a teacher.

Because the film is filmed using the thick Barnsley dialect, it is difficult for people to understand, but I do urge everyone to watch this film with the ORIGINAL dialogue and use subtitles if you must.

A couple of tasters:





Cheers

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 10:09 AM   
 By:   Damian   (Member)

I found out that they stop putting you in goal if you let enough in!big grin
We used to have a lad who came the pitch with his coat on over his kit. It was one of those parkas with the big furry good. He used to pull the hood up and zip it all the way and just stand there!!

 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 10:25 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

At my school we had two kids who stood out on the wing having fag! Lol.

*cigarette

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 10:28 AM   
 By:   FalkirkBairn   (Member)

I found out that they stop putting you in goal if you let enough in!big grin
We used to have a lad who came the pitch with his coat on over his kit. It was one of those parkas with the big furry good. He used to pull the hood up and zip it all the way and just stand there!!


Was his name Kenny? If he'd turned the coat inside-out to show the orange lining he would have looked like South Park's Kenny.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 11:36 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score by John Cameron.

I may have to see this.


Caveat Emptor: Subtitles are a must!


I hope that the version on Amazon Prime offers subtitles.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 12:11 PM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

The first time I saw this film was when it was shown in our school assembly hall sometime in the 70s.
Curtains drawn. Top windows blacked out. Old projector via a painted white wall.
Our whole school year sat in darkness, enthralled.
Not unlike a scene from CINEMA PARADISO I guess.
I've seen it many times since, on the telly.
Absolute Classic.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 12:46 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I saw this film years ago, in my early film study days. It's a classic, of course, and Loach has continued to make gripping socialrealist dramas since. His second-to-last film, I DANIEL BLAKE, is an equally sober (and sobering) portrayal of class, unemployment and generation gaps that was one of my favourite movies that year.

John Cameron has been a force in music for decades, although KES remains his biggest claim to fame, film music-wise. He seems to have "retired" about a decade and a half ago.

But anyways...thanks for the reminder. Might have to rewatch KES soon after Howard's glowing post.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2021 - 12:55 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

John Cameron has been a force in music for decades, although KES remains his biggest claim to fame, film music-wise. He seems to have "retired" about a decade and a half ago.

John Cameron's major splash in more recent decades has occurred via his 1970S library albums for KPM.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2021 - 6:41 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Ms. Birri and I watched this tonight.

Thanks for the rec on the subtitles. I would have been lost without them.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 30, 2021 - 6:40 PM   
 By:   MCurry29   (Member)

An all-time favorite film and a must have classic score. John Cameron is a huge talent. He did many of the brilliant the arrangements for HOT CHOCOLATE one of the greatest bands of all-time! I also love his score for A Touch of Class.

 
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