Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Mike Leigh: On Film and Politics

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Mike Leigh: On Film and Politics

Article excerpt

How did the idea for Another Year come about?

I have ongoing preoccupations of an emotional, social, personal--and, if you like, political--nature, which you can see in all of my films. And here we are looking again, I hope in some way that digs a bit deeper than some of my films, at issues of family, of the relationship between work and the personal, responsibility, of isolation, of disappointment, of parents and children.

So to talk about where the idea came from is not really appropriate. I felt I wanted to make a film that started from where we--that is to say, we who are in our late sixties--are.

You've said that you have reached a point in your career where you want to "paint on a bigger canvas".

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Yes. If epic can be measured in terms of the emotional experience of the audience, then I hope this is an epic film just as Naked is an epic film and, I would suggest, Vera Drake is an epic. In other words, my intention is to break through the apparent constraints of domestic life on to an epic or operatic scale emotionally. I think that's important.

Do you think that the "baby boomer" generation squandered the proceeds of economic growth from which it benefited?

That is a deeply suspect position. I'm slightly older than the baby boomers because I was born during the war. But the world they and I grew up in was one in which what had been fought for and won was a national health service, a very good state education system, on the whole free university education for--people, and so on.

Of course, the sins that are implicit in what I've just listed--the abandoning of fundamental ideology--cannot be laid at the feet just of the coalition government. We go back to Thatcher, we go back to the fact that we had well over a decade of so-called socialist government that did nothing to correct any of the things I've just been talking about. …

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