The British filmmaker, Mike Leigh, will climb the steps of the Palais des Festivals for the fourth time this evening in search of a second Palme d’Or.
With eleven feature films to his name, four of which have been in Compétition at Cannes, Mike Leigh returns to the Croisette with his favourite actors: Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen, Peter Wight, Olivier Maltman, Karina Fernandez, Imelda Staunton and others.
Mike Leigh is a regular at Cannes. He has already presented four of his films in Compétition and was a member of the Jury in 1997 alongside Tim Burton when Isabelle Adjani was President.
He has been awarded numerous prizes during his career, including the Prize for Best Director for Naked in 1993 and the Palme d'Or for Secrets and Lies in 1996. He has also enabled many of his actors to win some of the most prestigious acting awards, including two at the Festival de Cannes: David Thewlis for Naked and Brenda Blethyn for Secrets and Lies.
Mike Leigh’s characters are real, complex and likeable all at once. So, what's his secret? A method refined over the years: no scripts ever, just a few main themes and character outlines. The actors, all heavyweight performers, often from a theatre background, rehearse for months and get into the skin of their characters while giving shape to the storyline.
The script and even the title of the film thus remain a secret until the last minute. Nevertheless, the plot of Another Year was revealed upon the film's selection for Cannes: it charts the lives of a couple in their fifties, their son and their friends over the course of four seasons.
Another Year is dedicated to the memory of Simon Channing Williams, producer of all Mike Leigh’s films since High Hopes in 1988, who died in April 2009.
B. de M.