The BFI is delighted to announce a major UK-wide celebration of the career of multi-award winning writer-director Mike Leigh, one of Britain’s most internationally recognised and critically acclaimed filmmakers working today.

From Abigail’s Party (1977) and Naked (1993) to Secrets & Lies (1996) and Another Year (2010), Leigh’s films are a testament to the power of cinema, fusing comedy with tragedy and the personal with universal themes such as births, marriages and deaths. His unique method of developing characters through improvisation with his actors broke new ground, bringing stories of ordinary working-class people to the screen in a natural way with truth and empathy. 

Mike Leigh
© Myrna Suarez

This major BFI project launches with the world premiere of the BFI National Archive 4K remastering of Mike Leigh’s masterpiece Naked (1993) at this year’s 65th BFI London Film Festival, ahead of the film being re-released by the BFI in UK cinemas from 12 November and on Blu-ray, for the first time in the UK, on 29 November. 

Immediately after the festival, BFI Southbank will host a complete retrospective of Mike Leigh’s work from 18 October to 30 November, featuring screenings of all his films and television works and multiple Q&As with Leigh and many of his close collaborators. There will also be a BFI Blu-ray release of Leigh’s first feature Bleak Moments (1971) – remastered by the BFI in 2K – on 29 November, a Mike Leigh collection on BFI Player and a season of Leigh’s work at HOME, Manchester.

Awarded a BFI Fellowship in 2005 during the last BFI Southbank retrospective of his work, Leigh has worked extensively in theatre, television and film as a writer and director over the last five decades, directing work such as Nuts in May (1976), High Hopes (1988), Topsy-Turvy (1999), Happy Go Lucky (2008), Mr. Turner (2014) and Peterloo (2018). A seven-time Oscar nominee, winner of five BAFTAs and nominated for another 10 BAFTA awards, Mike Leigh is also the only British director to have won the top prize at both Cannes (for Secrets & Lies, 1996) and Venice (for Vera Drake, 2004).