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this weekend, october 18 & 19th and beyond


October 18 & 19, 2008

Museum of the Moving Image will present Weekend with Mike Leigh, a retrospective of four of the British director’s contemporary urban dramas and comedies. Leigh will participate in a Pinewood Dialogue following a screening of his acclaimed new film Happy-Go-Lucky. The series also includes rare theatrical screenings of Life Is Sweet, Naked, and All or Nothing, all screening in pristine 35mm prints. The weekend retrospective, on October 18 and 19, 2008, will take place at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue at 38 Street, Manhattan.

“Mike Leigh’s films are deceptive in their apparent simplicity,” said David Schwartz, the Museum’s Chief Curator. “While they may seem at first like improvised slices of life, they are in fact sharply crafted and brilliantly performed, with a bracing view of modern life that is at once hard-edged and optimistic. The Museum’s retrospective offers a rare opportunity to see four of Leigh’s greatest films on the big screen.”

Hilarious comedy is never far from tragedy; as Leigh has said, “You’re born and you die, and between those two events, it’s a really difficult and hard journey.” In his latest film, Happy-Go-Lucky, which opens theatrically on October 10 following a premiere at the New York Film Festival, Sally Hawkins gives a magnificent performance as Poppy, an irrepressibly cheerful and single schoolteacher. Leigh shows us the counterpoint to Poppy’s bubbly view just as he finds ambiguity and complexity in the lives of the malcontent antihero played by David Thewlis in Naked; the despairing working-class protagonists of All or Nothing; and the neurotic twin sisters in Life Is Sweet.

Tickets for Happy-Go-Lucky and the Pinewood Dialogue with Mike Leigh are $12 Museum members / Free for sponsor-level members and above / $18 non-members. All other films: Free for Museum members / $10 non-members. (The Museum is offering a weekend package: $40 for tickets to all four films and the dialogue with Mike Leigh.) Order tickets online at or by phone at 718.784.4520.

All films directed by Mike Leigh and shown in 35mm. Scandinavia House is located at 58 Park Avenue at 38 Street, Manhattan. Travel: By subway: 4, 5, 6, 7 to 42nd Street/Grand Central. For further details, visit

Life Is Sweet Saturday, October 18, 6:00 p.m.
1991, 103 mins. Imported 35mm print. With Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Jane Horrocks, Timothy Spall, Stephen Rea. Food and family are at the center of one of Leigh’s funniest films, about twin sisters— one anorexic, one seemingly normal—and a family friend’s misguided attempts to open a French restaurant.

Jane Horrocks in Mike Leigh's LIFE IS SWEET (1990), screening on October 18, 2008 as part of Museum of the Moving Image's "Weekend with Mike Leigh," a retrospective of four films and a Pinewood Dialogue with Leigh. At Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, Manhattan. Photo source: Photofest, courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image.

Naked Saturday, October 18, 8:00 p.m.
U.K. 1993, 131 mins. Studio 35mm print courtesy of Warner Bros. Classics. With David Thewlis, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Crutwell. Considered by many to be Leigh’s masterpiece, this deeply provocative black comedy is about the sexual and emotional havoc wreaked by unemployed Johnny (Thewlis) and his upper class doppelganger, Jeremy (Crutwell), on a series of women, friends, and strangers.

David Thewlis in Mike Leigh's NAKED (1993), screening October 18, 2008, as part of Museum of the Moving Image's "Weekend with Mike Leigh," a retrospective of four films and a Pinewood Dialogue with Leigh. At Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, Manhattan. Photo source: Photofest, courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image.

Happy-Go-Lucky and Pinewood Dialogue with Mike Leigh in person
Sunday, October 19, 5:00 p.m.
U.K. 2008, 118 mins. Studio 35mm print courtesy of Miramax Films. With Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan. Hawkins gives an astonishingly rich, engaging performance as Poppy, a teacher whose childlike enthusiasm and relentlessly positive approach to life have very different effects on the people who surround her. Screening followed by a discussion with director Mike Leigh. Tickets: $12 Museum members / Free for sponsor-level members and above / $18 non-members. Order online at or call 718.784.4520.

All or Nothing Sunday, October 19, 8:00 p.m.
U.K./France. 2002, 128 mins. Studio 35mm print from MGM. With Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville. A working-class South London housing complex is the setting for Leigh’s portrait of the surprises and daily challenges of a perpetually bickering couple and their children and neighbors. Beneath the surprising twists and turns are the signature traits of Leigh’s films: revelatory performances and dialogue; evocative locations; and a distinctly unsentimental form of optimism.

Special thanks to Julie Fontaine, Miramax Films; Brian Fox, Swank Motion Pictures; Jenny Jones and Dean Otto, Walker Arts Center; Ross Klein, MGM; Nicholas Varley, Park Circus; and Marilee Womack, Warner Bros. Classics.

About Museum of the Moving Image Museum of the Moving Image advances the public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. It does so by collecting, preserving, and providing access to moving-image related artifacts; screening significant films and other moving-image works; presenting exhibitions of artifacts, artworks, and interactive experiences; and offering educational and interpretive programs to students, teachers, and the general public. Construction is currently underway on a major expansion of the Museum, designed by architect Thomas Leeser. The project entails a complete renovation of the existing first floor and construction of a three-story addition housing a new theater, screening room, galleries, and a multi-classroom education center. The Grand Opening of the expanded Museum is scheduled for winter 2009-10. For more information, visit

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