A great slate of extras accompany this release, with the most essential being Cathy Come Home, a 1966 television feature for BBC program The Wednesday Play, which Loach directed 10 films for. Like many of those films, Cathy Come Home is focused on critiquing a British social crisis, and its tale of a woman who loses her husband and children in the midst of homelessness details the housing problems of the era. It’s a film that’s intended to raise awareness, so its didactic elements are really at the forefront, but its experimental, French New Wave-inspired editing and relentless verité sensibilities make it a thrilling and heartrending document. A video afterword by Graham Fuller accompanies the film.
Also essential is a 45-minute making-of, which includes new interviews with Loach, Bradley, DP Chris Menges and longtime Loach collaborator and producer Tony Garnett. Each one has vivid memories of production, and the featurette traces the film’s humble beginnings to its eventual critical acclaim.
A 1993 profile of Loach’s career for the British program The Southbank Show traces his work up to that point, and provides a solid overview of his filmography. The theatrical trailer is also included. A booklet with an essay by Fuller sees him covering some of the same ground as in the video piece, as well as providing a comprehensive look at Loach’s work.
The Bottom Line
Kes is a landmark in British cinema, and this fantastic Criterion edition is all the more reason to visit or revisit the film.