Born in Salford, Manchester, in 1943, Mike Leigh has developed a unique method of creating films through controlled improvisations. After his debut Bleak Moments (1971) he made a succession of admired TV plays, including Abigail's Party and Nuts in May. He then returned to feature films: High Hopes (1988), Life is Sweet (1990), Naked (1993). Secrets and Lies won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1996. Topsy-Turvy (1999) won two Oscars. All or Nothing followed in 2002. Since then he has made the Oscar-nominated Vera Drake (2004), which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) and Another Year (2010). He also did Two Thousand Years for the National Theatre in 2005. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.
Amy Raphael was born in London in 1967. She has worked on The Face, NME, Elle and Esquire and now freelances for the Guardian, the Observer and The Times. Her first book, Never Mind the Bollocks: Women Rewrite Rock, was published by Virago in 1995. She conducted the conversations and edited Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh, which was published by Faber in 2008. She has also contributed to the The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock and Perfect Pitch, a series of books about football. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.
...Rachel (Alison Garland) works in an old people’s home. Her father Phil (Timothy Spall) is a minicab driver. He hears Ron (Paul Jesson), his co-worker and neighbour, lie to their boss: he accidentally backed his car into a post but pretends...
...Mike Leigh has described his own ‘general tendency or instinct’, when creating a new film, ‘to dish up something that’s different to what went before.’Amy Raphael, ed., Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh. London: Faber and Faber, 2008, 226...
...Derek Malcolm, ‘Mike Leigh at the NFT’, Guardian Unlimited, 7 October (2002), http://film.guardian.co.uk/interview/interviewpages/0,6737,809562,00.html.Hitchcock famously said that the kind of woman who spends all day washing up and doing...
William Verrone is Assistant Professor of Film and Literature at the University of North Alabama. He has published on a wide range of subjects, from Disney to Nick Cave and from Terry Gilliam to Ken Russell. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.
...Mike Leigh’s films and the characters who populate them have often been described as bleak, dreary, and even miserable, which may be true to a certain extent. But the films, as demonstrated through the rich and realistic characterization...
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