Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy-Go-Lucky: a Mike Leigh joint.

Britain's Independent recently called him a "miserabilist," or maybe he called himself that. But Mike Leigh -- the U.K. filmmaker of such dark, dire stories as Naked, Vera Drake, All or Nothing, heck, there was even one called Bleak Moments -- begs to differ.

"There are people that talk about my films as being pessimistic, which I think is nonsense," the 65-year-old London-based director says. That perception may have something to do with why Leigh has gone and made Happy-Go-Lucky, a character piece starring Sally Hawkins as a relentlessly chirpy, resilient London schoolteacher. "There are some people who talk about this as though Happy-Go-Lucky was actually, literally, a description of the film, which it isn’t. It’s far more complex than that. It has its dark sides to it.... But when you walk away from this, dark is not what you feel. You walk away from Naked and something else hangs you for sure.

"Any half-decent novelist, or dramatist, or filmmaker, or whatever, should think that if you’re dealing with the real world and the real issue of life and living -- which is what I think I do — one wants to contribute a whole range of work to a picture of humanity. It’s very obvious."