Thursday 29 September 2016

Kes director pays tribute to 'great humanity' of author Barry Hines

Published 22/03/2016 | 16:41

Kes director Ken Loach praised the author of the original book, the late Barry Hines
Kes director Ken Loach praised the author of the original book, the late Barry Hines
The late author Barry Hines, whose novel A Kestrel For A Knave was adapted as the classic film Kes

Film director Ken Loach has praised the "great humanity" in the writing of his close collaborator Barry Hines after the author's death on Friday.

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Hines was the author of A Kestrel For A Knave, which became the classic 1969 film Kes directed by Loach.

The two then worked closely together on other films including The Price Of Coal (in two parts, 1970 and 1984), The Gamekeeper (1980), and Looks And Smiles (1981).

Hines was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009 and died with his family at his side in a care home in South Yorkshire at the age of 76.

Explaining why he and producer Tony Garnett had been drawn to work so closely with Hines over the years, Loach told the Press Association: "His writing, the way he wrote, was very much the way we wanted to make films.

"It was very simple, direct, clear, economical. Funny, sometimes. And with a great warmth, a great humanity."

Hines wrote nine novels over a career that spanned almost 50 years. His second book was adapted for the film Kes, which is ranked seventh in the British Film Institute's top 10 British films.

Kes tells the story of a troubled schoolboy who lives in a mining area. He is constantly bullied and considered a "hopeless case", but finds an outlet for his frustrations by training a kestrel he finds on a farm.

Like most of his books, it lays bare the struggles of the working class in the North of England.

Loach, 79, said: "He's describing a culture that existed at a certain period in time, that no one else has matched. If you want to know what it's like to live in that part of the world in those years, read Barry Hines and you've got it absolutely.

"I think also, his political commitment is very important. He was absolutely aware of the conflict at the heart of society between employers and workers, and he knew which side he was on, and he was a socialist all his life."

He added: "In Kestrel For A Knave, which became Kes, the boy Billy Casper had talent that society would not recognise because he was marked down for unskilled manual labour, and that's what they were determined he should be."

The two worked closely together, with Hines joining Loach on set.

The director recalled: "When we made the films, Barry would be very actively involved.

"He chose the locations that we wrote about and where we invariably filmed, he'd come along with me when we were casting, we'd sit and meet people together.

"He'd be there at the shoots as much as possible - always a cool, perceptive presence."

Press Association

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