Kes inspired me to smash Oxbridge ivory towers


Christopher Eccleston says Ken Loach’s film changed his view on “art for working class people”.

Christopher Eccleston has said Ken Loach’s Kes changed his view of “art and culture for working class people” and inspired him to take up acting to smash Oxbridge’s “ivory towers”.

The 59-year-old star recently read A Kestrel for a Knave, the book that inspired the 1969 film, for BBC Four.

He said Loach’s film of a boy who bonds with a kestrel had been the “most important cultural event” of his life.

The Salford-born actor added that it was the “greatest British film ever”.

The film, which was released a year after Barry Hines’s novel, won several awards when it was first released and was later ranked seventh in the British Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest British films of the 20th Century.

The former Doctor Who star, whose career has taken in films, television and the stage, told BBC North West Tonight that seeing it as a child inspired him to “smash down the ivory towers built by Oxbridge and public school and get into the arts world”.

“It changed my entire view of myself, of art and culture for working class people,” he said.

“It was an absolutely transformative experience.”

The film tells the story of Billy Casper, a working class boy who finds hope and fulfilment when he adopts a young kestrel and begins training it.

Eccleston said he was “completely and utterly beguiled by the idea that a working class individual like myself and my brothers and my mother and father could have a wonderful skill and could have a dream to be lifted from the pit, as in Billy’s case, or the factories in my mum and dad’s and my case”.

“I saw the film before I read the book and it changed my life entirely,” he said.

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Source: Christopher Eccleston: Kes inspired me to smash Oxbridge ivory towers

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He is perhaps Britain’s foremost cinematic chronicler of working-class angst and quotidian humanism.

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Ken Loach first learned about the “gig economy.” The debilitating delusion underlying that concept — the dream of being your own boss, only to find yourself trapped on an accelerating, unstoppable hamster wheel of work — fits right in with the veteran director’s moral vision of a world in which ordinary humans regularly think they can outsmart a system designed to destroy them. Loach is perhaps Britain’s foremost cinematic chronicler of working-class angst and quotidian humanism. Strident outrage bubbles just beneath the ambling, improvisational cadences of his films. And I can only imagine that the old lefty director of KesRaining Stones, and The Wind That Shakes the Barley blew a gasket when he learned about how so many of today’s workers have been bilked into thinking they can be free operators in a tech-enabled landscape of merciless profit. […] Continue reading

Cult Movie: Ken Loach’s Kes one of the greatest British films ever made

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