A keen observer of manners and mores, Mike Leigh has been hailed as a celebrator of "ordinary" people, yet it wasn't until relatively recently that audiences have been able to appreciate the full body of his work. In discussing all his films from Bleak Moments and High Hopes through Naked, the Oscar-nominated Secrets and Lies and Topsy Turvy, to All or Nothing, Garry Watson considers this claim, examining the films'influence and their effect.
At the same time, he takes on the very concepts of "the real" and "the ordinary" in regard to Leigh's work, challenging much perceived thinking among critics and moviegoers alike. To what category does the director's work really belong? Is it British Realism? The avant garde? Through careful textual detail and wider social and literary comparison with the works of Charles Dickens and T. S. Eliot, he argues ultimately for the aritistic and cultural significance of Leigh's work as one of Britian's most respected filmmakers.
"Watson tackles critics' complaints head-on [and is sensitive to the pain and suffering that define the worlds of Leigh's chararacters...Essential." -- "Choice"
Acknowledgements Preface Part One: Establishing a New Context 1 The Reception of Leigh's Work: Revising Our Expectations 2 The Extraordinary Element of Too-Muchness at the Heart of the Ordinary 3 In Pursuit of the Real Part Two: The Films (I) 4 The Feminist Leigh: Two Women 'on the other side of silence' 5 Leigh and Lawrence on 'the middle-class thing' and What it Leaves Out 6 The Political and the Flaubertian Leigh: On Stupidity, Taste, Anger and Resistance 7 Comedies Celebrating Marriage, the Family and the Pursuit of Happiness Part Three: The Films (II) 8 'Are you with me?': Leigh's 'Traumatising Seducer' 9 In Search of the Missing Mother/Daughter 10 A Meta-commentary on Leigh's Art and an Exploration of Female Friendship 11 Work as Play: The Utopian Element 12 'In the messianic light' 13 Conclusion: A Sense of the Real Notes Bibliography Index
Series: Directors' Cuts
For Ages: 22+ years old
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 9th June 2004
Publisher: Wallflower Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 15.9
Weight (kg): 0.44