Life is sweat
THE MIKE LEIGH FEATURE FILM COLLECTION
On sale from next Monday to coincide with the imminent cinema release of Mike Leigh’s latest movie, Happy-Go-Lucky, this 11-disc box set features all 10 of Leigh’s earlier features, beginning with his aptly titled cinema debut, Bleak Moments (1971). He worked in television (notably on Abigail’s Party and Nuts in May, not in this compilation) during the long gap before his second feature, Meantime (1984).
Working mostly on low budgets and very often with unfamiliar actors chosen for their naturalistic qualities, Leigh has shaped his movies through intensive improvisational sessions with his cast, producing raw, acutely observed dramas of modern life and the human condition.
The most effective of these have been Naked, Secrets & Lies and Vera Drake, all of which deservedly collected prestigious prizes on the festival circuit, along with one of Leigh’s rare ventures into period pictures for his wonderfully exuberant Gilbert & Sullivan movie, Topsy-Turvy.
Completing the set are High Hopes, Life Is Sweet, Career Girls and All or Nothing (starring Lesley Manville and Timothy Spall, pictured above). In addition, a disc features Leigh in conversation with his regular actors, and a 2002 South Bank Show devoted to Leigh and his work.