Well in the last posting about our mixed bag of a trip to Italy, I talked about how we failed to remember to take our house keys with us. It wasn’t the only thing we forgot as it happened. We intended to take a new rug with us and several other things but somehow in our busy pre-trip schedule, they all got sadly forgotten. And upon returning we intended to bring several items back to the UK and in our haste, you’ve guessed it, we overlooked them too. It’s clearly an age thing as C and I hurtle towards our bloody dotage. They’ll be feeding us baby food soon.
One thing we did remember to do however before we set off was order some DVDs online to watch out in Italy. Sadly we forgot how long it takes to redeem an order these days and they failed to arrive before we set off. Do you believe in omens and maybe get the impression that this was a trip destined to be not entirely successful? Not to worry the good thing is that they were here (well at the Post Office) waiting for us when we returned, and last night I watched the first of them, the remarkable film Kes. I don’t think I’ve seen it in 30-40 years (memory escapes me) but it’s a true classic. You must know the plot; it’s set in a Yorkshire mining town and tells the story of Billy, a young schoolboy with no prospects other than to follow his unlikeable elder brother Judd down the pits. It’s utterly dispiriting but things take on an upbeat tone when Billy discovers a young kestrel – Kes – and trains him in the art of falconry. It’s a beautiful relationship and symbolic of the personal need to escape the grimness of the last remnants of the industrial north in the 60’s. But ultimately it is doomed.
Directed by the brilliant Ken Loach, the film is poignant, certainly political and full of pathos. It feels under-rehearsed in places almost as if a lot of it was unscripted and improvised. But this gives it a sense of realism, as if it were a drama-documentary. Despite the sadness the film has some brilliantly funny moments and the scene where Billy’s PE teacher, played by the late Brain Glover, emulates his hero, the fair slightly-balding Bobby Charlton, in a game of football with the boys is just superb comedic acting.
You know, I’d forgotten just how good this film is. Quelle surprise.