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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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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