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1996, Janus Films, 136 min, UK/France, Dir: Mike Leigh

After the death of her adoptive parents, black middle-class Londoner Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) is shocked to discover that her birth mother is white working-class Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn), a hard-drinking disaster completely at odds with the professional success of her estranged daughter. Blethyn and Jean-Baptiste are marvels as their characters learn how to relate to one another amidst the tumult of Cynthia’s own extended family life. Navigating the chaos and catharsis of fraying and reconfigured family ties, this winner of the 1996 Palme d’Or at Cannes (Blethyn also won for Best Actress) is a testament to the constant surprises that life sends our way. With Timothy Spall and Phyllis Logan.

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