Posts Tagged ‘Mike Leigh’

Form As Function – The Arbor & Certified Copy

Posted 24 Jun 2012 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

The Arbor, UK, 2010

Directed by Clio Barnard

Certified Copy, France / Italy / Belgium, 2010

Written and Directed by Abbas Kiarostami

The Arbor, Clio Barnard's debut feature, takes an unusual approach to the documentary film. I am continually amazed by the odd synchronicities (or coincidences, if you insist) that crop up in my seemingly random viewing habits. For some reason, even when I’m not trying to, I often end up viewing two or more films within a short period of time that seem to have nothing to do with one another, only to suddenly find striking comparison points between them. Two of the past year’s best films – Clio Barnard’s The Arbor and Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy – are a prime example of this phenomenon. Having been attracted to the latter based on what I had heard about its unusual approach to the documentary form, I watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it. Only the next day, I finally got around to Certified Copy, one of 2011’s other most acclaimed films, and found that it also had a very interesting formalistic approach that directly informed and commented upon its subject matter. Let’s start with The ArborRead More

Another Year – Another Great Leigh Film

Posted 15 Feb 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Another Year, UK, 2010

Written and Directed by Mike Leigh

Another Year is one of Leigh's best films.

British writer-director Mike Leigh is absolutely one of the most impressive filmmakers alive today. His method of working is unparalleled in its ability to create believable, fully realized characters and utterly realistic situations. What he does can be expressed quite simply, but is undoubtedly very difficult: he takes his time. He rehearses for months without a script, creating the characters and their situations with the actors through improvisations and other exercises and writing the script based on these insights. The result is that we see real people, whose lives begin before the film and go on after it, as opposed to the more utilitarian and one-dimensional characters usually seen in films.

This method had served Leigh and his actors (many of whom have been nominated for and won huge, prestigious awards as a result of their collaborations with him) extremely well over the years, in films like Vera Drake (2004), Secrets and Lies (1996) and Naked (1993), to name just a few. Now, with his latest film, Another Year, Leigh trains his incisive gifts on the desperate loneliness and terror of mortality that can come with incipient old age. Read More