British filmmaker Mike Leigh turns 70 today. To mark the occasion, I have re-posted all of my articles on him and his films, starting with a phone interview that I did with him for the UBC student newspaper back in 1996.
The occasion for that interview was the release of Secrets & Lies, which I quickly came to regard as my favorite film of the 1990s. Alas, the interview itself did not go as well as I might have hoped, since I was rather under the weather when the appointed time came, and the only free phone was right in the middle of the student-newspaper office — and this was on a production night, no less. So it was very noisy at my end, and I wasn’t quite as on-the-ball as I should have been, and, well, let’s just leave it at that. But it was still an honour to speak to him, and I can only hope that some day I might get the chance to do so again, under better circumstances.Then there are the reviews I have written of some of the films he has made since then: a review of Topsy-Turvy (1999) for the Vancouver Courier; a review of Vera Drake (2004) for BC Christian News (where it also ended up on my top ten list for the year); and a review of Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) for Christianity Today Movies.
Finally, a couple of blog posts about Leigh’s films: I wrote this one when I introduced my wife to Secrets & Lies in May 2005; and in this one, from December 2005, I linked to a New York Times article that looked at how Christian film critics were becoming more “sophisticated” in their approach to films like Vera Drake. Enjoy.