A girl left at home with her mentally impaired sister tries to work out her own communication problems. She fails with a well-meaning teacher, especially in a Chinese restaurant where the only other diner gobbles down his food in contrasting extravagance, and also with a long-haired would-be guitarist, who buries his head in his own silence. Says a lot about repressed feelings, with none of the social propaganda of Ken Loach’s Family Life. The bleak moments are everywhere, and pretty harrowing.
One of contemporary Britain’s most renowned directors, Mike Leigh is known for his depictions of the dramas inherent in the everyday lives of regular people. Often compared to compatriot Ken Loach for his emphasis on “slice-of-life” realism (a comparison Leigh has deemed inaccurate, as his films, unlike Loach’s, have no absolute political agenda), Leigh makes films remarkable for their level-headed, unsensational portrayals of topics that would become four-hankie “message” melodramas in the hands of most Hollywood directors.
Born February 20, 1943, in Salford, Manchester, Leigh originally wanted to go into acting. While training at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, however, he found himself drawn toward directing and writing, and he eventually transferred to the London Film School. He began his career on the stage, with two of his most important works, The Box Play and Bleak Moments, brought to life through collaborative experimentation during rehearsals. The latter play… read more
This was by far the most beautiful and sensitive film I have ever had the opportunity to lay my eyes on. And on 35mm! Now that is touching. Thank you, Mr. Leigh, for this wonderful picture. You put a smile in my face, every single time. (I reckon this to be a study about autism, who's with me?)
Mike Leigh's powerful debut is something between the lines of Ozu, Bresson and Cassavetes, revealing insights on social behavior with such intensity and precision it might leave more than one person feeling mildly uncomfortable afterwards. Amazing film.