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Ken Loach or the emotion of the first time

From Doncaster to Cannes

In 1970, the second film a still little known English director, Ken Loach, was selected by the Critics' Week at Cannes. Ken Loach and his film Kes became acquainted with the Cannes Film Festival…


Pre-release in the country

KES is a violent film, hard and cynical. A realistic portrait of the English working class and the impoverished mining regions. A film about exclusion, difference, the need to escape to exist, between social alienation and freedom. When the film was released in 1969, it was difficult to find an audience for it. It had been filmed in an English dialect which was impossible for those who had not always spoken it to understand, and the producers didn’t know how to distribute it. So they decided to release it right next to the town where it had been filmed, in the North of England, in Doncaster. A local and provincial premiere for a film destined to make an impression.

First time at the Palais des Festivals

A little later, in 1970, the film was selected by the Critics’ Week for the Cannes Festival. Just like in Donaster, the film was well received by the audience at the Palais des Festivals. Cannes had discovered a young director with an engaging and rebellious style, but who was also full of humanity. At the time Ken Loach was starting out and his great talent as a film maker was still unknown, but this experience remains a poignant and overwhelming memory for him, as the Cannes Film Festival opened the doors for him to the world of cinema.

Cannes or the opening of the world

Its selection for the Critics’ Week offered Kes an international career. It would be screened in numerous festivals and theatres, notably the Academy Cinema in London, the most prestigious art house in the British capital. Still today, although it has never been released in major cinemas to the public, it is regularly screened in small theatres around the world. Kes, a cinematic masterpiece which would perhaps never have become known to a wide audience without the Critics’ Week, has made an impression on several generations.



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