Cover image for The films of Mike Leigh : embracing the world
The films of Mike Leigh : embracing the world
Carney, Raymond.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xii, 292 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
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Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.3.L445 C37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The Films of Mike Leigh is the first critical study of one of the most important and eccentric directors of British independent filmmaking. Although active since 1971, Leigh has only come to the attention of an international audience in the 1990s through films such as Secrets and Lies, and Career Girls. The authors examine Leigh's working method and films in the intellectual and social contexts in which they were created. All of Leigh's major box office successes are analyzed, interpreted, and shown to be among the finest examples of cinema.

Author Notes

Ray Carney is Professor of Film & American Studies & Chairman of the Film Studies Program at Boston University. He is the author of over ten books, including the critically acclaimed "The Films of John Cassavetes".

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Carney (Boston Univ.) defines Leigh as much by what he is not (Hollywood) as what he is. Whereas Hollywood characters are understood in terms of inner states--their thoughts and desires define them--Carney argues that Leigh's characters are defined externally, in terms how they behave rather than how they think or feel. Carney discusses individual films (Bleak Moments Hard Labor, The Kiss of Death, Nuts in May, Life Is Sweet--omitting Career Girls, Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy) to demonstrate how Leigh pays close attention to idiosyncratic traits--the way people walk, gesture, speak--to build "thick" characters via attention to specific mannerisms. Carney points out that Leigh's plots are driven not by choices and goals but by interactions among characters, who exist in a tangle of relationships and obligations. Quart (College of Staten Island) contributes to the discussion with an introduction and a chapter on Naked. He presents Leigh as both Jewish and working class, noting that a "certain type of Jewish family life" informs Leigh's representation of families. Unlike Marxist Ken Loach, who exposes class conflict and points to political agendas to solve it, Leigh provides no answers. Recommended for film collections at all levels. J. Belton; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick