This November, HOME takes part in the BFI’s UK-wide celebration of filmmaker Mike Leigh, with a retrospective that showcases work from across the multi-award winning writer-director’s fifty years in the industry. Salford-born Leigh is one of the country’s most internationally recognised and critically acclaimed filmmakers, and HOME’s season, featuring seven films and events, is a vital demonstration of the range of his talents.
Known for fusing comedy and tragedy, Leigh’s empathetic approach is canny, political and often thrilling, dealing with universal topics such as birth, marriage and death. Across film and television work such as Abigail’s Party, Secrets and Lies and Nuts in May (screening Saturday 27 November), Leigh is also renowned for his bespoke approach to the craft. Indeed, his unique method of developing characters through improvisation with his actors — often used in service of bringing stories of working class people to the big screen — is still much discussed.
The retrospective at HOME starts on Sunday 7 November with Leigh’s first directorial credit, 1971’s Bleak Moments, a film of isolation and unfulfillment, about an office worker living with her sister and continues until Tuesday 30 November when audiences will have a rare big screen opportunity to see 1980’s Grown-Ups, which first showed as part of the BBC’s Playhouse strand.
The standout event is a showing of 1993’s Naked, which won awards at Cannes for its director, as well as actor David Thewlis, who plays the film’s violently troubled lead. Widely considered Leigh’s greatest achievement, the director will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening on Friday 12 November.