Director: Mike Leigh Run Time: 111 min. Format: DCP Release Year: 1971
Starring: Anne Raitt, Eric Allan, Joolia Cappleman, Liz Smith, Mike Bradwell, Sarah Stephenson
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Mike Leigh announced himself as a unique, powerful new voice in British cinema with BLEAK MOMENTS, a stunning debut and a masterpiece of understated melancholy. Adapting his own theatrical play for the screen, Leigh follows Sylvia (Raitt) through a life of quiet desperation in suburban South London as she attends to her developmentally challenged sister (Stephenson) and attempts to forge romances with her awkward professorial boyfriend (Allan) as well as a shy, guitar-strumming newsletter duplicator (Bradwell). Uncomfortable silences, botched flirtations, and fleeting hints of warmth and humor punctuate Sylvia’s aching descent into solitude, compassionately portrayed by Leigh as symptomatic of humanity’s struggle to communicate and connect.
“It is a first film by a young British director who exhibits in every scene a complete mastery of the kind of characterization he is attempting. This film is a masterpiece, plain and simple, and that is a statement I doubt I will ever have cause to revise.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times