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UK, 1971 (MIFF 1989, Mike Leigh Retrospective)

Director: Mike Leigh

Adapted from his 1970 stage production, Bleak Moments not only represents Mike Leigh's feature film debut but also establishes the characteristic method of mood of his output, a stylistic signature which has been described as 'heightened realism'. The film revolves around Sylvia (Anne Raitt), a young South London woman with an office job and a mentally retarded sister, Hilda (Sarah Stephen). Other people who figure in Sylvia's suburbanly semi-detached existence include Pat (Joolia Cappleman), a monotonally bright typist colleague, Peter (Eric Allen), a diffident schoolteacher — and possible love interest — plus Norman (Mike Bradwell), a hippie drifter who rents out Sylvia's garage to print an underground magazine and play his guitar. Leigh's critically praised comedy/drama of claustrophobic manners is notable for its trenchantly accurate playing and an undfrlying tone of gentle, nervy humour.

See also...


UK, 1983
Though beautifully made and acted, "Meantime" is definitely I minority-audience film. It concerns an East End family Husband, wife, two grown sons, Mark a cynic, and Colin, a bit simple-minded. The t… More »


UK, 1985
Lying somewhere between the naturalism of Mike Leigh and the working class concerns of Ken Loach, Seacoal, a unique collaborative project, is an astonishing doco-drama that demolishes the lines betwe… More »

The Short and Curlies

UK, 1987
In between serving cough pastels and contraceptives at the chemist's, Joy dreams of the perfect man. Over at the hairdresser's, Betty has the same pre occupation for herself and her daughter Charlene ... More »


UK, 1988
... ... Mike Leigh's latest film is his first made directly for cinema release in 17 years and a fitting culmination to the retrospective of his films screening through the festival. ... The most sop… More »


UK, 1977
This tale of young love focuses on the romantic ebb of love in the life of a rather shambling undertaker's assistant. ... More »

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