In this much needed examination of Mike Leigh, Sean O'Sullivan reclaims the British director as a practicing theorist--a filmmaker deeply invested in cinema's formal, conceptual, and narrative dimensions. In contrast with Leigh's prevailing reputation as a straightforward crafter of social realist movies, O'Sullivan illuminates the visual tropes and storytelling investigations that position Leigh as an experimental filmmaker who uses the art and artifice of cinema to frame tales of the everyday and the extraordinary alike.
O'Sullivan challenges the prevailing characterizations of LeighAEs cinema by detailing the complicated constructions of his realism, positing his films not as transparent records of life but as aesthetic transformations of it. Concentrating on the most recent two decades of LeighAEs career, the study examines how Naked, Secrets and Lies, Topsy-Turvy, Vera Drake, and other films engage narrative convergence and narrative diffusion, the tension between character and plot, the interplay of coincidence and design, cinemaAEs relationship to other systems of representation, and the filmic rendering of the human figure. The book also spotlights such earlier, less-discussed works as Four Days in July and The Short and Curlies, illustrating the recurring visual and storytelling concerns of LeighAEs cinema. With a detailed filmography, this volume also includes key selections from O'Sullivan's several interviews with Leigh.
Exposing the corporate structures behind exploitative migrant labor programs
Acknowledgments The Nature of Contrivance How to Watch a Mike Leigh Movie: The Short and Curlies; Biography and Career Outline; Character and Plot: Meantime and Four Days in July; Art and Narrative: Naked and Secrets and Lies; Topsy-Turvy Girls, Career Boys: Career Girls and Topsy-Turvy; Vera's Fingers: All or Nothing and Vera Drake; Five Lessons, Four Seasons: Happy-Go-Lucky and Another Year Interview with Mike Leigh Filmography; Bibliography