Friday, 24 August 2012

Toasting Chestnuts~ High Hopes

"Mr. Sausage is on the stairs."

Mike Leigh-champion of kitchen sink movies~Naked, Secrets & Lies, Happy Go Lucky, to name but a few.  What is a kitchen sink?   Real people in real situations. No Hollywood fluff.  No pandering to the audience. 

High Hopes ~ a go to movie I can easily watch half a dozen times a year.
Comedy and despair unite. 


Shirley and Cyril-happy go lucky pair of aging tree huggers.

Valerie and Martin-she, a fury in gold-the yuppie wannabee; he, the entrepreneur of questionable repute.

Laetitia and Rupert-upper class couple with a gentrified pied a terre; neighbour to Mrs Bender.

Mom-the soon to be 70 year old Mrs. Bender-mother to Cyril and Valerie; living alone, feeling her age.

By now, I'm sure we're all familiar with Leigh's method.
A general plot outline is presented to the actors who then, through rehearsal, improvise a script.  Their characters develop along with the story.  Costumes are selected accordingly.
The actors become fully immersed in their roles.


Ah, the lavatory.  I'll show you were it is in a moment.
(Laetitita to Mrs. Bender)

And your garden leaves a great deal to be desired. You could have enormous fun out there.
My husband used to do all that.
And where is he now?
He's dead.
Jolly good.
(Rupert to Mrs. Bender)

You don't half look nice.
So do you.
(Cyril and Shirley)

I would like to propose a toast to Mom's birthday, because, it could be her last.
(Valerie, on a good day)

You start
You start
No, you start
You start
You bloody start
Oh c'mon...
...Start what anyway?
(Valerie and Martin)

All three worlds collide as Mrs. Bender finds herself in distress and we see the class system in all its glory.  A treat to watch. 
Going strong after nearly thirty years.  Do yourselves a favour.