Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Four Days in July (Mike Leigh) - 1985

Leigh's Four Days in July is the last of Leigh's TV movies. But, it feels like a step backwards after Meantime. Four Days in July feels a lot like The Kiss of Death in the way the film looks, sounds, and carries along with very little incident.

Four Days in July takes place in Belfast. This in itself is very different for Leigh. All of Leigh's films take place in a contemporary Britain (except Topsy-Turvy which is a period piece). The film takes place during the start of what is called 'The Troubles.' This is a long period in Northern Ireland's history dealing with the violence between the Protestants and the Catholics. This is a period in history I've always been very interested in. So I liked that the film was set during this time.

The film follows two couples, one on the Protestant side and the other on the Catholic side of the struggle. Both couples are about to give birth to their first child. And, in the end, both give birth on the same day. And, end up in the same hospital room. It is only in these final scenes that the film reveals itself. We watch as the two women nervously talk to one another. Afraid of starting an argument. And, in the waiting room, both husbands sit in total silence. The separation and anxiety of this period in time.

There is no plot to this film other than showing four days in the life of these families and ending the film with the pregnancies. There isn't much of a character study at play, either. The film is pretty much a voyeurs experience watching these two families live amongst the violence and turmoil of this time period.


No comments:

Post a Comment