Thursday, August 25, 2011

High Hopes

Suuria toiveita. GB 1988. PC: British Screen Productions / Channel Four Films / Portman Productions. P: Simon Channing-Williams, Victor Glynn. D+SC: Mike Leigh. DP: Roger Pratt. M: Andrew Dixon. AD: Andrew Rotschild. ED: Jon Gregory. Cast: Philip Davis (Cyril Bender), Ruth Sheen (Shirley), Edna Doré (Mrs. Bender), Philip Jackson (Martin Burke), Heather Tobias (Valerie Burke), Lesley Manville (Laetitia Boothe-Braine), David Bamber (Rupert Boothe-Braine), Jason Watkins (Wayne), Judith Scott (Suzi), Cheryl Prime (Martinin ystävätär). 112 min. Print: Park Circus, with permission from Endemol Worldwide Distribution Limited. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Mike Leigh / Helsinki Festival), 25 Aug 2011.

BFI synopsis: "The plight of youth and old age in contemporary society is revealed through the lives of Shirley and Cyril, a working class couple in dispute over whether they should have children, their problems with 'yuppies' moving into the neighbourhood and outpricing them and the advent of Cyril's ageing mother's seventieth birthday." Sampled Mike Leigh's second theatrical feature film with which he started his cinema director's career seriously after a long spell as a director predominantly for the theatre and for television. Mike Leigh has a rare talent to catch real life as if it were unaware, without self-reflection, without self-consciousness, without a feeling of posing. A young, confused visitor asking for directions brings us to the world of Cyril and Shirley, a motorcycle courier and his girlfriend, and their family and circle of friends. "Vanhuus ei tule yksin" ("Old age does not come alone") is a Finnish saying illustrated by the situation of Cyril's mother. In the introduction of the relationship the evocation of mutual tenderness is original. There is a unique sense of humour in the world of Mike Leigh. The print viewed is immaculate. There is an emphasis on gray and brown in the colour palette, but in this print the definition is perfect: there is a rare beauty and a feeling of illumination.

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