Envelope Screening Series: Bringing 'Another Year' to the screen
British filmmaker Mike Leigh has a rather startling track record with the Academy Awards, with his films having racked up numerous nominations over the years for screenplay, director and best picture, as well as for his performers. In his latest film, "Another Year," which Leigh has described as his most personal, a couple (played by Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen) form the center of a social circle, with friends and family cycling through their house carrying with them all manner of problems. In some ways it's an answer film to his youthful “Happy-Go-Lucky,” with “Another Year” confronting the transitions of age head-on.
Actress Lesley Manville (who has worked with Leigh more than any other performer) and the Oscar-winning Broadbent sat down after an Envelope screening of the film to provide their firsthand insights into Leigh’s extraordinary and unusual filmmaking process. Instead of being based on a conventional script, the characters and story are built up over a long period of conversation and rehearsal involving the director and his actors.
The results, as marvelously on display in “Another Year,” create moments of insight into human behavior that often seem beyond the grasp of more conventional filmmaking. Manville in particular, as Mary, a friend of the couple coming to terms with her own loneliness and disappointment, gives a performance of rare subtlety, at once heartbreaking, relatable, slightly tragic and lightly comic.
-- Mark Olsen