Kes directed by Ken Loach
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Important background 3
Ken (Kenneth) Loach is a British director whose works are considered landmarks of social realism. Born on June 17, 1936 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, Loach later studied law at St. Peter’s College, Oxford. While there, he became interested in acting. After graduating in 1957, he spent two years in the Royal Air Force, then began a career in the dramatic arts. He worked first as an actor in regional theatre companies, then as a director for the BBC.
In the 1960s Loach directed several docudramas for a television series called The Wednesday Play. One of the productions, Cathy Come Home (1966), explored the disintegration of a working-class family and examined the related issues of unemployment and homelessness. This helped bring the discussion of homelessness into the British mainstream. In 2000, Cathy Come Home was ranked second by the British Film Institute on a list of the all-time top 100 British television programs.
Loach continued to address social issues on television and later in theatrical releases. His first feature film, Poor Cow (1967), focused on the life of a working-class woman whose husband is in jail. It was followed by the poignant Kes (1970), about a boy, abused at home and school, who befriends a fledgling kestrel (a falcon). The film received much acclaim, including a nomination for best picture at the British Academy Film Awards.
Some of Loach’s more recent films have a considerably Irish feel. In 2006, he directed The Wind That Shakes the Barley, while he was also behind the camera of the 2014 release, Jimmy’s Hall.
Kes is based on the novel A Kestrel for a Knave by English author Barry Hines, published in 1968, who later stated that much of the novel was based on his and his younger brother’s experien...