VIFF capsule reviews part two: Mr. Turner, The Vancouver Asahi, Clouds of Sils Maria and Maps to the Stars

MrTurnerMr. Turner (UK/France/Germany) — Oct 8 @ 1pm @ Vancouver Playhouse

Mike Leigh is known for his kitchen-sink realism and his improvisational approach to screenwriting: he hires the actors, gets them to know their characters in detail, and then he collaborates with them on the story, or at least on the development of individual scenes. But once in a rare while he decides to tackle an actual historical subject — and the two films he has made in that vein so far both concern artists who lived and worked in the 19th century. [Read more…]

Review: Topsy-Turvy (dir. Mike Leigh, 1999)

Well, here’s a how-de-do. British director Mike Leigh is well-known for his working-class dramas, such as Naked and Secrets and Lies, and for his uniquely improvisational approach to making them, whereby he and his actors take a premise and follow their characters’ impulses wherever they may lead. But in Topsy-Turvy, Leigh applies his technique to a true story, and of all things, it’s a richly-detailed costume drama about Gilbert and Sullivan.

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