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Film Series Exposes Life in a Mining Town

The 30th annual Oklahoma City University Film Institute’s film series will continue at 2 p.m. Nov. 6 with Ken Loach’s “Kes” in the Kerr McGee Auditorium of the Meinders School of Business. The school is located at N.W. 27th Street and McKinley Avenue.

Named one of the 10 best British films of the century by the British Film Institute, “Kes” stands as cinema’s quintessential portrait of working-class Northern England.

The story is about Billy, a 15-year-old miner’s son whose close bond with a wild kestrel, a kind of bird, provides him with a spiritual escape from his dreary life. Using real locations and nonprofessional actors, Loach’s poignant coming-of-age drama remains one of England’s most beloved and influential films, and a new DVD release has made the film available to the United States.

The authenticity of Billy Casper’s performance has led many to compare it to Truffaut’s early masterpiece, calling it Britain’s “The 400 Blows.” Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called itLoach at his best.

The theme of this year’s series is “Compassion: The Radical Challenge.” It is based on Karin Armstrong’s book, “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.” The book will be available at the film showings.

Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Film Institute and a coordinator of the series, said the theme is intended “to bring to our attention the most recent book of the most acclaimed scholar of comparative religion in the West. Armstrong exhorts us to understand that even though faith has been exploited to justify horrific atrocities in the world, the fundamental idea in religion challenges us to understand that compassion is inseparable from humanity.”

Admission to all films in the series is free. The series is supported by the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Endowment Fund, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and donations from the public.

For more information contact Winn at or (405) 208-5472.

Other films and dates in the series include:

* Jean Renoir’s “The River,” Jan. 22                                                                         

* Majid Majidi’s “Children of Heaven,” Feb. 5

* Claudia Llosa’s “The Milk of Sorrow,” Feb. 19

* Kenji Mizoguchi's “Sansho the Bailiff,” March 4