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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...

FOUR DAYS IN JULY

Two couples, one Catholic, one Protestant, are near neighbours in Belfast. They have nothing in common, save the fact that both women are expecting their first babies, which will be born on the same ... More »

BLEAK MOMENTS

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 ... 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 »

THE KISS OF DEATH

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

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