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Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh

Sean O’Sullivan
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Mike Leigh
    Book Description:

    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._x000B_ _x000B_O'Sullivan challenges the prevailing characterizations of Leigh's 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 Leigh's 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, cinema's 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 Leigh's cinema. With a detailed filmography, this volume also includes key selections from O'Sullivan's several interviews with Leigh.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09340-1
    Subjects: Film Studies, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. The Nature of Contrivance
    (pp. 1-144)

    It is time to reclaim Mike Leigh from the kindly ghetto in which he has been placed by his well-meaning enthusiasts. I intend to reclaim him, over the course of this book, as a practicing theorist—a filmmaker deeply invested in cinema’s formal, conceptual, and narrative dimensions. Leigh is typically considered an unassuming crafter of little movies, an English social realist who has called himself “a Third World filmmaker from this obscure island off the French coast” (Movshovitz 57) and who has written little or nothing that we would consider theory, or even criticism. I would argue that the recurrent...

  5. Interview with Mike Leigh
    (pp. 145-162)

    The following represents a distillation of a series of interviews conducted by the author. Two of these took place in London in July 2004; the third took place in New York City in October 2004.

    Sean o’sullivan: We often think about generations of film movements based in certain countries—such as Italian cinema during and after World War II, or German cinema in the twenties or later on in the seventies, or, obviously, French cinema in the sixties, or New Hollywood in the seventies. And these generations are often predicated on people who have similar attitudes or beliefs or experiences...

  6. Filmography
    (pp. 163-176)
  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 177-180)
  8. Index
    (pp. 181-192)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 193-196)