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 Posted:   Apr 7, 2021 - 5:18 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

...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.

If anyone here has ever taught in one capacity or another, you'd agree there is nothing like being on the ground floor with a kid who ends up hitting a high note and maybe even goes on to make it big. And for every “obnoxious bullying sports master“ on the pitch there is often a prospective mentor on all sorts of pitches just waiting on the sidelines, ready to go the extra mile and take a willing pupil under his wing and do whatever he can to help his charge reach his potential.

Mr. Farthing, beautifully played by Colin Welland, could be that mentor. He allows the kid to run with his passion and Billy, in turn, opens up and expresses to the entire class what it means to “train, not tame“ a kestrel. He owns his classmates in the pivotal scene, not only demonstrating that he can read, comprehend and write—a talent heretofore hidden from all—but also revealing the potential within himself to rise above the aforementioned predestined dead-end mining town existence.

The follow-up scene galvanizes the teacher's amazement and respect as Mr. Farthing witnesses the kid in action in the field with the hawk. There is more to Billy than anyone, including he, thought! And now Billy's frustration is unleashed in a tirade about the school and everyone connected that must have shaken the teacher.

The fact Billy felt free to express himself so openly with Mr. Farthing is a sign that there may be hope for him through this budding relationship. If so, it's a good start.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2021 - 7:43 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

I still live in Hoyland where Kes was filmed, and will be passing writer Barry Hines' blue plaqued house in Hoyland Common on my way to the shopping this afternoon.

My secondary school was exactly the same as the one in Kes (Kirk Balk, Hoyland), with the football pitch and the showers.. and the kids were the same too. In fact I was like them at the time! An awful lot of families seemed to have a 'Jud' in them. Or our Jud. That's pronounced aaahhhh Jud..

Great film. We read the play in english lessons, the kids loving it because one of them got to say "bastard"!

Definitely a classic, and I have to say I never actually thought I'd see the day when any Americans would know what it was, because it always seemed SO local to me. As the comments about dialect testify... Even now I talk like this with local folks. Some people will say we're the only area that speaks like Shakespeare wrote. We still use 'thee' and 'thou' (mostly pronounced "thaah") when addressing each other

Also have a fondness for The Price of Coal, The Gamekeeper and Threads (perhaps fondness isn't the right term for that nuclear war aftermath drama). All these are filmed in areas very local to me where I walk, and some even count people I knew in the casts.


 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2021 - 8:20 AM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)

I still live in Hoyland where Kes was filmed, and will be passing writer Barry Hines' blue plaqued house in Hoyland Common on my way to the shopping this afternoon.

What about that—a fellow Tyke! (Although I don't live in Barnsley now.)

I don't know if you saw my earlier comment Paul, but I went to St. Helen's School where the film was filmed and it featured some of my teachers. It was on Carlton Road, but alas was demolished a few years ago.

I wonder how many other frequenters of this board come from Barnsley?

Cheers

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2021 - 8:23 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

I still live in Hoyland where Kes was filmed, and will be passing writer Barry Hines' blue plaqued house in Hoyland Common on my way to the shopping this afternoon.

What about that—a fellow Tyke! (Although I don't live in Barnsley now.)

I don't know if you saw my earlier comment Paul, but I went to St. Helen's School where the film was filmed and it featured some of my teachers. It was on Carlton Road, but alas was demolished a few years ago.

I wonder how many other frequenters of this board come from Barnsley?

Cheers


I did actually and was ... gobsmacked, lol. What a very small world it is eh? Got to get off now, to the Birdwell Aldi! Yes there's an Aldi at Birdwell. How well off are we?

Having got back since the earlier part of my post I forgot to mention that the fish and chip shop seen in Kes, is down a side street (Princess Street where I once looked at a house for possible purchase) opposite Barry Hines old house. Not surprisingly it has been named in recent years... Casper's. On top of that there is in Hoyland town centre a micro pub called The Knave and Kestrel after the novel. Both these premises are adorned with photos from the film.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 9, 2021 - 4:55 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Definitely a classic, and I have to say I never actually thought I'd see the day when any Americans would know what it was, because it always seemed SO local to me. As the comments about dialect testify... Even now I talk like this with local folks. Some people will say we're the only area that speaks like Shakespeare wrote. We still use 'thee' and 'thou' (mostly pronounced "thaah") when addressing each other

I've seen the same thing with black friends who speak the King's English but then Ebonics break out on the phone with their black friends. Always get a kick out of that, and probably have done the same thing myself. Folks here in Florida have been astonished when I tell them where I'm from. They'd think differently if they brought out the New Jizey in me. Which happens when I lose patience. smile

"SO local." That's quite a moving thing you've expressed. For that matter, so is everything else and it adds a distinctive flavor to this celebration. Thank you. Makes me want to commission you and Stephen to play tour guides if ever I make my way over the pond again. It's been almost 30 years.

Speaking of flavor I think, too, that my being quite close to the age of Billy at film's creation added symmetry to this unexpected cinematic discovery. We were worlds apart in terms of educational experience and all but I've ended up a perennial working class slob, for want of a better expression.

Mr. Welland certainly understood both worlds as his Oscar winning screenplay for Chariots attests. Not to mention his work on Yanks which I've recently re-watched. Interesting how that film's story included a lad who was desperate to get away from the boarding school where he was subjected constantly to hazing. Ha, interesting too that one of the visiting title characters, an army officer, helped persuade the boy's Mum to let him come home.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 9, 2021 - 9:13 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Another little detail I forgot to mention, until I spoke to someone at work yesterday. Friends of mine, both at work and from my youngest days were taught by Barry Hines at Kirk Balk School, Hoyland, where I spent my secondary education. Not taught by Hines though. He'd left before I started there, possibly only by two or three years.

P.E. (physical education) teacher.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2021 - 8:45 AM   
 By:   George Flaxman   (Member)

I've still not seen the film, but I've now played the CD, I got it a couple of days ago for around £19. Funnily the score is only 19 mins long, but it is very relaxing.

I got the CD so I can hold my head up high at our regular zoom calls. Many of the thread contributors are regulars too. Come on FalkirkBairn, join us.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2021 - 11:07 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

smile

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2021 - 11:17 AM   
 By:   FalkirkBairn   (Member)

I've still not seen the film, but I've now played the CD, I got it a couple of days ago for around £19. Funnily the score is only 19 mins long, but it is very relaxing.

I got the CD so I can hold my head up high at our regular zoom calls. Many of the thread contributors are regulars too. Come on FalkirkBairn, join us.


I've been looking for the next one since Erik's CSR 25th anniversary Zoom meet. Hopefully there's another one happening soon!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 9, 2021 - 11:39 AM   
 By:   George Flaxman   (Member)

I've still not seen the film, but I've now played the CD, I got it a couple of days ago for around £19. Funnily the score is only 19 mins long, but it is very relaxing.

I got the CD so I can hold my head up high at our regular zoom calls. Many of the thread contributors are regulars too. Come on FalkirkBairn, join us.


I've been looking for the next one since Erik's CSR 25th anniversary Zoom meet. Hopefully there's another one happening soon!


It should be tomorrow.

I've bumped the current Zoom thread...

https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=144138&forumID=1&archive=0&pageID=1&r=917#bottom

Anyone is welcome.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 20, 2024 - 1:01 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

from today's (print) NY Times--

Ken Loach: Championing the Strugglers and Stragglers

A retrospective of the director’s work at Film Forum shows how his movies have kept a focus on working-class solidarity.
By Jeannette Catsoulis

From the start, the British filmmaker Ken Loach came out swinging in support of the underdog. Long before his films opened in theaters, his 1960s television plays introduced uncomfortable topics like back-street abortion (“Up the Junction”) and homelessness (“Cathy Come Home”) to audiences who were not always appreciative of their documentarylike realness and divisive politics.

Since then, his dogged championing of society’s strugglers and stragglers has sometimes resulted in his films’ being misread or underappreciated by American audiences. (Even the British film critic David Thomson once judged Loach easier to respect than enjoy.) Inseparable from his time and place, Loach responded to the economic depression of postwar Britain — and what would become decades of Conservative rule — with an unrelenting focus on working-class solidarity. In a Loach movie, survival hinges not on individualism, but on community.

Film Forum’s wide-ranging retrospective (running through May 2), which generously samples Loach’s prolific output from 1967 to the present, offers an opportunity to marvel at the breadth and emotional heft of an audacious career. In the 1990s alone (invigorated, one guesses, by 11 years of Thatcherism), he tackled topics as diverse and contentious as Northern Ireland (“Hidden Agenda”), labor rights (“Riff-Raff”), unemployment (“Raining Stones”), domestic abuse (“Ladybird, Ladybird”) and addiction (“My Name is Joe”) with an uncompromising belief in the essential drama of ordinary lives.

Over time, his films have become less raw and more artful, more fluidly cinematic but with no less social relevance or political edge. (It’s notable, and shameful, that his 2019 indictment of worker exploitation, “Sorry We Missed You,” feels as justified today as it did more than three decades ago in “Riff-Raff.”) Injections of tough-minded humor have inoculated even his most tragic pictures from charges of miserabilism and opened them up to a wider audience. In “Raining Stones” (1993), for instance — about an unemployed father who takes dangerous steps to purchase his daughter’s first communion dress — a gently comic undertow eases the violence. You’ll be distressed, but you won’t be destroyed.

Nowhere, though, is humor more essential than in two of Loach’s most wrenching dramas. In “I, Daniel Blake” (2016) — whose release in Britain sparked a parliamentary discussion — an ailing widower (Dave Johns) is repeatedly rebuffed by an impenetrable welfare system. Despite the welcome distraction of Paul Laverty’s salty, spiky dialogue, some scenes (as when Daniel accompanies an impoverished single mother to a food bank) remain so gutting I like to think even Thatcher would have crumpled.

No less harrowing, yet defiantly ebullient, “My Name Is Joe” (1998) follows a recovering alcoholic (the great Peter Mullan in a jaunty performance) as he risks his sobriety and a new romance to help a desperate friend. Washed in warmly gritty photography and dialogue (again by Laverty) that singes the ears, the movie is vibrantly alive in ways that transcend its somber subject matter.

Until his latest (and likely last) feature, “The Old Oak,” Loach has mostly avoided triumphalism or extremes of sentiment, favoring realistically bleak or indeterminate endings. (A chilling example is his 1971 drama, “Family Life,” which traps an emotionally fragile teenager between her bullying mother and the brutal interventions of an antiquated mental health institution.) Age has doused neither the fire in his belly not the moral astringency of his gaze, resulting in characters who never plead for sympathy. Instead of whining, they fight.

Few battle harder than Maggie (an incendiary Crissy Rock), the single mother in “Ladybird, Ladybird” (1994), who’s been knocked around by life and a series of shiftless men. Maggie is so relentlessly combative and unapologetic (“I smell trouble and I go to bed with it”) that viewers can find it easier to blame her, rather than the film’s mostly solicitous social workers, for her operatic misfortunes. Not Loach, though, who forces us to reckon with the way poverty and abuse can make us enemies even to ourselves.

The mother who appears in Loach’s debut feature, “Poor Cow” (1968), has also, like Maggie, suffered abuse, but the two films could not be more different. I first saw “Poor Cow” some time in the ’80s, and a recent rewatch convinced me I had failed to fully appreciate both the loveliness of its color-soaked images and the radical feminism of its stance. Adapted from Nell Dunn’s 1967 novel, it remains Loach’s most wistful and formally experimental film, following Joy (Carol White, glowing like a pop-art angel) as she uses her beauty to scrape by when her boyfriend (a scrumptious Terence Stamp) lands in prison. (Some of Stamp’s footage was ingeniously repurposed by Steven Soderbergh for his 1999 thriller, “The Limey,” in which Stamp also stars and whose character appears in flashbacks as a young man.)

There’s a winsome innocence to this movie, and to Joy’s promiscuity: She refuses to “turn professional,” as a friend urges, because she enjoys sex too much. (The film’s title uses a British slur for a loose woman.) Accompanied by Donovan’s plaintive soundtrack, Joy is a philosopher-flâneuse, wandering the laundry-draped courtyards and agitated streets of West London and telling us, in desirous voice-over, exactly what she wants. Whatever that may be, the film insists, she’s as entitled to it as any man.

Viewed en masse, Loach’s movies form a cinema of working-class superheroes, caped in hard-knock resilience. The modesty of their ambitions — they aspire to sufficiency, not luxury — might mystify viewers accustomed to Hollywood’s narrative excesses. Joy seeks happiness in “a man, a baby and a couple of nice new rooms to live in”; Stevie (Robert Carlyle), the itinerant laborer in “Riff-Raff,” dreams of leaving his dodgy construction site and opening a little shop. Yet there’s something touchingly noble in their limitations and pragmatism, exemplified by Stevie’s bracing retort when his girlfriend admits to feeling depressed.

“Depression’s for the middle class,” he snaps. “The rest of us have an early start in the morning.”

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2024 - 8:20 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Oh what I would do to head over to Barnsley and be a part of this:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-69016071

 
 Posted:   May 23, 2024 - 11:42 PM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)

The Ronnie Steele mentioned in that article had Barry Hines and Brian Glover as teachers and went to school with my uncle.

As you know Howard, I went to the Kes school (St. Helen's Comprehensive, Carlton Road, Barnsley) and Mr. Hesketh, the teacher who pulls Casper out in the assembky scene (Mr. Hesketh) was one of my teachers.

(Side note: Mr. Hesketh loved James Bond movies.)

Cheers

 
 
 Posted:   May 24, 2024 - 5:20 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Back at’cha, SW. And speaking of Barry Hines, what a coincidence to see his name associated with Threads which I watched quite recently for the first time.

 
 
 Posted:   May 25, 2024 - 8:41 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I also saw THREADS for the first time in 2022. Very dark, but also incredibly good film. It was the best "old" film I saw for the first time that year.

Meanwhile, as we're talking Loach and KES, I was NOT impressed with his latest film, THE OLD OAK. I don't know what happened there, but it was maudlin and strained, and a far cry from his last great film, I, DANIEL BLAKE, wherein the social-realist drama flowed freely and nicely.

 
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