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Career Girls (1997)

Mike Leigh

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.

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Amy Raphael

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.

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Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh

Faber and Faber, 2008

Book chapter

...Annie (Lynda Steadman) travels from Wakefield to London to stay with Hannah (Katrin Cartlidge), a college flatmate she hasn’t seen for six years. They are both smart, single, professional women. Flashbacks to their time as students...

‘I Spy’

Devised and Directed by Mike Leigh

Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

Book chapter

...During the Britpop era of the 1990s, the name of Mike Leigh was invoked regularly both by musicians and the journalists who wrote about them. To compare a band or a record to Mike Leigh was to use a form of cultural shorthand...

‘No Room to Live’

Devised and Directed by Mike Leigh

Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

Book chapter

...Discussing the early television films Mike Leigh made for the BBC, Leonard Quart argues that, in comparison with those released for the cinema, ‘[t]he subtlety and uniqueness of these films have never been given their due’ (1999, 41)....

‘Taking the Temperature’

Devised and Directed by Mike Leigh

Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

Book chapter

...From his earliest television plays to his most recent film, Another Year (2010), Mike Leigh has consistently directed work that is steeped in cultural observation and comment. David Walsh describes the director as someone who ‘has stood out...

‘Those Days Are Over’

Devised and Directed by Mike Leigh

Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

Book chapter

...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....

All or Nothing

Bryan Cardinale-Powell

Bryan Cardinale-Powell is Visiting Professor of Moving Image Arts at Oklahoma City University, US. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Devised and Directed by Mike Leigh

Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

Book chapter

...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...

The Industry and/of the Auteur

Christopher Meir

Dr Christopher Meir is Lecturer in Film at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago. He has edited a special issue of The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television on film marketing and has published work on the marketing of Scottish cinema, film producer Jeremy Thomas and other subjects. He is currently completing a book tentatively titled Scottish Cinema: Texts and Contexts for Manchester University Press and working on a comparative study of the film industries of the nations of the Commonwealth. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Devised and Directed by Mike Leigh

Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

Book chapter

...The paradigm of the auteur has always been one that is implicitly and sometimes explicitly Romantic in nature, tending to see the auteur director as one that stands apart and in isolation from all worldly concerns and contexts. Among other...

Melodrama and Tradition in Vera Drake and Another Year

Devised and Directed by Mike Leigh

Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

Book chapter

...Part-way through Mike Leigh’s 2004 film, Vera Drake, the director reveals the film’s namesake’s guilty secret. Vera (Imelda Staunton) is an illegal abortionist, and is seen visiting a young pregnant girl to perform an operation. The scene...

Costuming Choices

Devised and Directed by Mike Leigh

Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

Book chapter

...Nearly everything written about Mike Leigh’s films addresses their realism in one way or another, and much that has been written categorizes them as documentary-like using such terms as ‘kitchen sink’ realism, ‘social’ realism, ‘council...

Class, Loss and Space

Devised and Directed by Mike Leigh

Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

Book chapter

...Introduction Secrets & Lies (1996), perhaps the most well-known of Mike Leigh’s films, won the Palme D’or (Best Picture) and Best Actress (Brenda Blethyn) awards in 1996 and became Leigh’s most commercially successful film to date (Watson...