Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bleak Moments

Ilottomat hetket. GB © 1971 Autumn Productions. P: Leslie Blair, Albert Finney. D+SC: Mike Leigh - based on his play. DP: Bahram Manoochehri. Songs: Mike Bradwell. AD: Richard Rambant. ED: Leslie Blair. Cast: Anne Raitt (Sylvia), Sarah Stephenson (Hilda), Eric Allan (Peter), Joolis Cappleman (Pat), Mike Bradwell (Norman), Liz Smith (Pat’s Mother), Malcolm Smith, Donald Sumpter, Christopher Martin, Linda Beckett, Sandra Bolton, Stephen Churchett, Una Brandon-Jones, Ronald Eng, Reginald Stewart, Susan Glanville, Joanna Dickens, Christopher Leaver. 111 min. A BFI Distribution 35 mm print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Mike Leigh, Helsinki Festival), 23 Aug 2011.

Sampled Mike Leigh's first theatrical film set in London's South Norwood. BFI synopsis: "Centres around a shy but intelligent middle-class girl, Sylvia, who is barely surviving suburban loneliness while looking after her mentally retarded sister Hilda." Other characters are Sylvia's friend at work, Pat, her boyfriend Peter, a teacher, and Norman, a flegmatic hippie. Evident is already Leigh's exceptional intimacy and confidentiality, the sense of being, of persons revealed in almost inaccessible situations. Mike Leigh is already a master of Innerlichkeit. Bleak Moments is a chamber piece about solitude, but it is illuminated by profound understanding. Solitude, but not despair. Although the print viewed is slightly worn at the heads and tails of the reels, the visual quality is wonderful, radiating a photochemical liveliness. Although the colour world is often grayish, there is an underlying warmth.

No comments: