By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Wednesday, December 5th, will see the beginning of an almost month-long retrospective of British cinematic giant Mike Leigh. The CCBB ‘Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil’ (Bank of Brazil Cultural Center) in Rio’s city center, will be screening 24 full-length and short films by the British director, as well as holding two debates and one masterclass.
Just over a month since Mike Leigh’s latest release, ‘Peterloo,’ was featured as one of the main attractions of Rio’s 20th International Film Festival, CCBB are now putting on a career-long retrospective of arguably Britain’s most acclaimed living filmmaker, runing until Saturday, December 22nd.
This exhibit echoes Caixa Cultural’s exhibition of Ken Loach films earlier this year, and the CCBB’s more recent showings of another socially conscious filmmaker, Spike Lee.
Spanning almost fifty years, this festival will be showing some of the major works through which Leigh cemented his international reputation, as well as broadcasting some early television films rarely seen in Brazil, that helped to establish the director’s bold vision and naturalistic style.
“At their core, Mike Leigh’s films are about the complexity and anxiety of being alive.” comments Oliver Wilks, research analyst. “Their portrayals of domestic anguish and social decay have never been more relevant.”
Highlights of the festival include a rare screening of Leigh’s 1972 cinematic debut, ‘Bleak Moments,’ which is showing on Friday, December 14th at 5PM, and again on Thursday, December 20th at 5PM. Taking place in a typically dreary suburb of London, Bleak Moments follows a bored secretary named Sylvia as she tries to break free from the pressures of caring for her disabled sister Hilda.
Also featured in this retrospective are some of Leigh’s most internationally-recognized works, such as 2004’s ‘Vera Drake,’ which is being shown on Sunday, December 9th at 4:45PM, and again on Wednesday, December 12th at 2:45PM.
The film follows the eponymous heroine as she leads a double life as an abortionist in fifties London. Vera Drake won a Golden Lion for best film and received three Oscar nominations, for best director, best actress, and best original script.
Two debates will be held around the themes of Leigh’s films. The first debate will take place on Wednesday, December 12th at 7:15PM and is titled ‘O Realismo Social no Cinema de Mike Leigh’ (The Social Realism in the Cinema of Mike Leigh).
The second debate will take place on Wednesday, December 19th at 7:15PM and is titled ‘Tendências contemporâneas no cinema de Mike Leigh’ (Contemporary Trends in the cinema of Mike Leigh).
There will also be a masterclass with Professor João Luiz Vieira from UFF ‘Universidade Federal Fluminense’ (Federal University of Fluminese) entitled ‘A mise-en-scène de Mike Leigh e a Construção de um Realismo Social’ (The mise-en-scène of Mike Leigh and the Construction of a Social Realism).
What: O Realismo Social no Cinema de Mike Leigh
When: Wednesday, December 5th to Saturday, December 22nd; screening and event times vary
Where: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil Rio de Janeiro, Rua Primeiro de Março, 66 – Centro
Entrance: R$5 – R$10, tickets available one hour before at the box office