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The films 'Kes' and 'Billy Elliott' are superficially similar.

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English Media Coursework The films 'Kes' and 'Billy Elliott' are superficially similar. One of the most striking similarities is that they are both set in mining towns when the coal industry was still running. However, what mining represents and means is very different in the two films. In 'Kes', it is something that Billy Casper is desperately trying to get away from, whereas in 'Billy Elliott', Jacky and Tony are fighting against the closure of the mines - it is unlikely that Billy will ever work there. In 'Kes', the likely fate of Billy Casper is that he will work in the mine. However, he is adamant that his will not happen. One of the reasons that he is so against working in the mine is that he has seen the effect that it has had on his brother, Jud. Jud is a stereotypical young man - he's strong, vain, chases after women and often drinks. He also picks on Billy in a very severe way. Jud despises the fact that Billy is still in school and he is almost happy every time he tells Billy that one day soon, he will be joining him, getting up early in the morning and working long hard hours in the mine. ...read more.


Another reason that Billy doesn't want to become a miner is that he wants to escape from his world. He is picked on at home and at school, constantly being told that he is stupid and no good. Kes is the only thing that he has a great passion for, and she symbolises everything that Billy wants: freedom. Freedom to go where he chooses and to do what he likes. We see shots of Kes flying above Billy, and in the background we can see Barnsley. Kes is flying way above the mine and she doesn't have a care in the world. Billy says "It's wild and it's free and it's not bothered about anybody," which is the attitude that Billy adopts to some extent. Billy understands the hawk, but the hawk is not just a bird to Billy, it is the culmination of all his hopes. Billy shows no desire to be outstanding at anything, he only says that he won't be a miner. The hawk flies above the mine. The mine is deep in the ground, and Billy wants to get as far away from it as possible. ...read more.


For her Billy is leaving, which is sad, but her life will move on. She isn't going to lose her job, she has to keep going the same way as she always has. Mrs Wilkinson is a contrast to the 'feel good' factor of the film. There are certain characters and moments in the film that stand out because they challenge the mood of the film, for example Jacky smashing his wife's piano, and I believe that the matter of mining is clearer in 'Kes' than it is in 'Billy Elliott'. I say this because in 'Billy Elliott', it is somehow unresolved. We know that the miners go back to work - we see them going back, but what we don't know is what happened to them when the mines closed. All we see are Jacky and Tony going to see Billy in his production of 'Swan Lake'. The central theme of the film is Billy, but I think that the film could possibly be even stronger if it showed more of a definite ending to the mines. However, having said this, the film explores wider, more challenging issues than 'Kes', for example the issue of homosexuality in Michael. It would have been hard to portray these issues when 'Kes' was made in the 1960s, but I think that it makes 'Billy Elliott' a more outstanding film. ...read more.

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