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A Conversation with Mike Leigh

Andrea Sabbadini Andrea Sabbadini, a London psychoanalyst who is head of the European Psychoanalytic Film Festival and also a member of our journal’s Editorial Board, interviewed the British film director Mike Leigh as part of the Connecting Conversations series* in London on 29 June 2008. We thought the conversation and the questions and answers that followed were especially effective in illuminating Mike Leigh’s unique improvisatory method of working with his actors—a method that has resulted in such dramatically immediate and psychologically convincing films as Secrets and Lies (1996) and Vera Drake (2004).—The Editors Andrea Sabbadini (AS): As far as I know, there is only one direct reference to psychoanalysis in your films. It’s in Career Girls when we watch Annie, one of the two friends who is a psychology student, attend a lecture where her teacher explains some bit of psychoanalytic theory. However, I believe that the detailed, accurate, in-depth understanding of the inner world of the characters you create implies something similar on your part to our own psychoanalytic work with our patients. If I could quote from your excellent recent book Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh, you say: “The whole job for me is taking a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Projections Berghahn Books

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