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Mike Leigh admits he enjoys his own work

Posted at 6:26 PM on October 15, 2008 by Euan Kerr

Sitting in a cavernous conference room in a downtown Minneapolis hotel Mike Leigh was polite, but feisty on certain subjects. We were talking about his new film "Happy-Go-Lucky" which opens next week in theaters, and about the retrospective and Regis dialog he is scheduled to do this evening at the Walker Art Center.

Here are a couple of choice quotes:

On developing the central character of Poppy in "Happy-go-Lucky" through his usual method of improvisation and exploration: "I can tell you how long it took, but there is no way I can take you through that process, because it's nobody's business, it's a trade secret."

On the difference between Hollywood and the rest of the film making world: "At any given moment there are dozens of films, hundreds of films being made throughout the world and this includes what I do - I am a European film maker - they are part of what we call world cinema. There is this tiny slice of activity in the world which thinks it's the only film making there is which is what we call Hollywood, and quite frankly I cannot have a discussion with you - no disrespect to you or anybody else - about the similarities or diversion between Hollywood and British movies. You may as well have a discussion about the relationship between Dutch cheese and - I don't know - the moon or something."

On looking back over his career for the Walker's retrospective: "I gather this is unusual for various reasons, but I actually like my films. I think if I don't like them why the hell should I expect anyone else to like them, really."

The Mike Leigh Retrospective continues through October 25th.

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