Kes is about a boy named Casper who is firmly planted on rails toward a job in the mines. I could try to expand this or try to explain what actually happens, but let me cut to the chase. The film parallels the story of a bird and a boy. The bird can never be tamed, but is befriended by the boy before dying in the end. The boy, like the bird, is a wild thing and cannot be tamed despite the many times he is yelled at or caned by his teachers. Ultimately, his life comes to an end with the end of school and a job in the mines. Kind of the reverse of Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), where a girl and donkey are tortured throughout the film, but receive salvation at the end. In between the beginning of the film and their “deaths”, the boy and the bird have a few moments of joy. It’s in these moments that the film really shines. Unfortunately, most of the film is British naturalism and really nasty teachers. Overlooking that, this is a good film with something to say and therefore is worth your time.

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