LIFE IS SWEET
1990, Park Circus, 103 min, UK, Dir: Mike Leigh

This early example of Mike Leigh’s signature comedic-realist style follows a working-class family through a series of hilarious misfortunes during a few summer weeks in North London. Fostering improvisation among his actors to develop characters from the inside out, Leigh layers the film with idiosyncratic personalities, including the vaudevillian shop clerk Wendy (Alison Steadman), her naive chef-turned-businessman husband, Andy (Jim Broadbent), and their constantly bickering twins, Natalie (Claire Skinner) and Nicola (Jane Horrocks). The story kicks into gear when Andy purchases a run-down food truck - a spontaneous decision that sends the family into chaos. “There are scenes here that are funnier than those of any other movie this year, and other scenes that weep with the pain of sad family secrets, and when it's over we have seen some kind of masterpiece. This is one of the best films of the year.” - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.


VERA DRAKE
2004, Warner Bros., 125 min, UK/France, Dir: Mike Leigh

In this heart-wrenching story of injustice set in 1950s London, Imelda Staunton plays the selfless Vera Drake, a woman whose compassion leads to her downfall. A housecleaner, Vera works hard to care for her working-class family, while searching for ways to serve her community - one of which is performing abortions for young women. But this is a crime in the eyes of her government, and the abortions must be kept a secret, driving a wedge between Vera and everyone she loves. An Oscar nominee for Best Director, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay (though it was filmed without a script), this thoughtful period piece remains surprisingly relevant. Featuring Eddie Marsan, Phil Davis, Lesley Manville and Sally Hawkins.


MARY AND THE WITCH'S FLOWER
MEARI TO MAJO NO HANA
2017, GKIDS, 102 min, Japan, Dir: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s classic The Little Broomstick, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s follow-up to the Oscar-nominated WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE is an action-packed animated adventure full of jaw-dropping imaginative worlds, ingenious characters and the simple, heartfelt story of a young girl trying to find her place in the world. While living in the country with her great-aunt, Mary follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest, where she discovers an old broomstick and the exotic Fly-by-Night flower. Together the flower and broomstick whisk Mary far away to Endor College – a school of magic where some terrible things are happening.


Syndicate content