The originator of this unique process is the British film director, Mike Leigh. His body of work has been an inspiration to me throughout my career and more recently a major reference point in my PhD. Here’s an extract:
“Leigh’s films appear to have some constants associated with them: these include complex characters and strong performances by his actors; characters and situations that focus on the ordinary in everyday British life; a seeming verisimilitude within any given film in relation to the ‘real’ world (and how this conforms to audiences perceptions of their own worlds); and how his films appear to reflect the changing cultural and political landscape of Great Britain. As Andy Medhurst observes:
…although all Leigh’s characters inhabit social and cultural identity categories…they are never allowed to overshadow or hollow out their emotional, domestic, familial and interpersonal singularities…we respond to the characters as individuals rather than filing them away as types. (Medhurst, 2007:177)
At the time I first saw Leigh’s films, I felt the results of his process presented drama in a different and exciting way; in particular, the worlds depicted in these films had a kind of reality and immediacy which scripted drama often lacked. The characters behaved seemingly unpredictably and had a complexity that I wanted to achieve in my own films. Leigh has described his films as ‘aspiring to the condition of documentary’ (Miller, 1996) and it was their apparent verisimilitude that appealed to me initially, even though in time I recognised their careful construction.
I am also greatly indebted to Mike Leigh, firstly for advice and discussion on occasion, but most comprehensively for an inspiring body of work and for opening the door to an enlightening filmmaking practice.”
Reciprocal Fluxion, Flinders University Drama Centre, 2013.