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All or Nothing

The Cinema of Mike Leigh


Edward Trostle Jones

This critical study of Mike Leigh’s cinema is a comprehensive assessment of his thirty plus years in film, including his television features, from the first feature-length Bleak Moments to All or Nothing. Through his own species of tragicomedy and favored thematic content concentrating on relationships, Leigh enlarges the emotional boundaries of cinema for performers and audience alike. His deep and fully realized characters often subvert both decorum and irony traditionally associated with British film and television. Leigh’s sense of the reciprocity and interpenetration of the material mundane, the ridiculous, and the humanistic sublime brings respect for the complexity of the ordinary and merits celebration within the democratic and demotic art of film.