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HARD LABOUR

UK, 1973 (MIFF 1989, Mike Leigh Retrospective)

Director: Mike Leigh

An early BBC work, Hard Labour continues the understated, downbeat style of Bleak Moments in what may be Leigh's most poignant portrait, that of a middle-aged working class woman whose life is a never-ending grind of housework; either for her grumbling, thankless husband or the equally thankless matron for whom she cleans. Leigh claims to have drawn directly from his childhood in creating the characters, and the film was shot around his native Salford.

See also...

NUTS IN MAY

A 'post-hippie' couple take a camping holiday in Devon, determined to escape the bustle of the city. Leigh's brilliantly observed comedy will have you loathing the officious husband within minutes ... More »

HOME SWEET HOME

Leigh's melancholy variation on 'Postman's Knock' centres on three postmen whose domestic lives on a suburban estate are more loosely (and painfully) entangled than they realise. The sexual conquests ... More »

The Five Minute Films

Made early in Leigh's career at the BBC, but not screened until the 1982 Mike Leigh Retrospective on BBC-2, this is a series of 5 short vignettes, each five minutes in length, each designed to ... More »

MEANTIME

Leigh's best-known film in Australia is the most sophisticated of his television-films and one of the great British films of the decade. Made not for the BBC but for Central Television, the film was ... More »

ABIGAIL'S PARTY

The appalling Beverley (played by Alison Steadman, a Leigh regular) has arranged a small party amongst a few neighbours, which provides the perfect opportunity to display her vast array of cultural ... More »

GROWN UPS

No Mike Leigh film better illustrates the unique blend of comedy and drama that have come to be a trademark of his work than Grown Ups, which moves from heart-rendering pathos to hilarious, chaotic ... More »

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