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Mike Leigh
Director / Screenwriter
1943 - 
Born February 20, Salford, Manchester, England
Key Production Country: UK
Key Genres: Drama, Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film, Comedy, Urban Drama, Family Drama
Key Collaborators: Simon Channing-Williams (Producer), Dick Pope (Cinematographer), Leslie Manville (Leading Character Player), Andrew Dickson (Composer), Jon Gregory (Editor), Philip Davis (Leading Character Player), Ruth Sheen (Character Player), Timothy Spall (Leading Player), Jim Broadbent (Leading Character Player), Eve Stewart (Production Designer)

Highly Recommended: Naked (1993)*, Secrets & Lies (1996)*
Recommended: All or Nothing (2002), Vera Drake (2004)^, Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)^, Another Year (2010)^
Worth a Look: Bleak Moments (1971), Nuts in May [TV] (1976), Meantime [TV] (1983), High Hopes (1988), Life is Sweet (1990), Topsy-Turvy (1999)
Approach with Caution: Who's Who [TV] (1979), Career Girls (1997)
* Listed in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films section; ^ Listed in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films section.

Links: [ Amazon ] [ IMDB ] [ TCMDB ] [ All-Movie Guide ] [ Film Reference ] [ British Independent: The Films of Mike Leigh ] [ Salon Interview ] [ Wikipedia ] [ Screen Online Biography ] [ BBC Audio Interviews ] [ Strictly Film School ] [ Contemporary Writers Profile ] [ Time Out Article (2008) ] [ Telegraph Article (2010) ] [ Guardian Articles ]
Books: [ Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh ] [ The Cinema of Mike Leigh : A Sense of the Real ] [ Loach and Leigh, Ltd.: The Cinema of Social Conscience ] [ The Films of Mike Leigh: Embracing the World ] [ Mike Leigh: Interviews ] [ Mike Leigh (British Filmmakers) ]
Naked (1993)Secrets & Lies (1995)All or Nothing (2002)Vera Drake (2004)
  "He made his cinema debut with Bleak Moments (1971) and went on to create a body of work noted for its truthful and compassionate dramatization of everyday lives and universal concerns." - (Chambers Film Factfinder, 2006)  
  "One of the most independent directors, Mike Leigh has developed individualistic working methods that produce hilarious and realistic critiques of mundane existences." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)  
  "While remaining fiercely independent and staunchly left-wing in his attitudes, Leigh has built up a body of work that anatomizes Britain's class system and everyday family life. The best of them, Life is Sweet (1990), Secrets & Lies (1996), All or Nothing (2002), Vera Drake (2004), and his most abrasive film, Naked (1993), articulate a subversive critique of English life that is often funny and often acutely painful. " - Philip Kemp (501 Movie Directors, 2007)  
  "Film-makers should remain true to their principles and never compromise, there is a real revival in the British film industry but there is a danger that we will become colonial servants of Hollywood. We need to maintain our own integrity." - Mike Leigh  
Please note that the rating given for this director (see top-right) is based only on the films we have seen (listed above). Films by this director that we haven't seen include Grown-Ups (1980).

"Rather than pontificating on the ideological implications of the average worker’s plight, Leigh’s films dramatize the efficacy of socialism through stories of communities learning to support each other (or of the tragedy of individuals cast adrift). Leigh’s working method also emphasizes group effort; he develops scripts with his cast in an improvisational atmosphere before setting the dialogue down in stone (a technique that also helps the sense of realism)… Leigh’s use of family dynamics makes it easy for most viewers to sympathize with the characters, even when they display unlikable qualities. Combining such dynamics with moments of laughter and tears, Leigh’s films use emotion rather than rhetoric to portray the lives of the working class." - Sean Griffin, Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film

Top 250 Directors
21st Century Top 50 
100 Essential Directors (Pop Matters)
Telegraph's Top 21 British Directors of All Time
501 Movie Directors: A Comprehensive Guide to the Greatest Filmmakers
See Also
Lindsay Anderson
Alan Clarke
Terence Davies
Bill Forsyth
Stephen Frears
Ken Loach
Shane Meadows
Lukas Moodysson
Karel Reisz
Jim Sheridan
Todd Solondz
Michael Winterbottom
Mike Leigh's Favourites
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005) Cristi Puiu, The 400 Blows (1959) François Truffaut, How a Mosquito Operates (1912) Winsor McCay, I Am Cuba (1964) Mikheil Kalatozov, Radio Days (1987) Woody Allen, Seven Chances (1925) Buster Keaton, Some Like it Hot (1959) Billy Wilder, Songs from the Second Floor (2000) Roy Andersson, Tokyo Story (1953) Yasujiro Ozu, The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) Ermanno Olmi. Source: Empire (2008)


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