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BAD BEHAVIOUR

UK, 1993 (MIFF 1993)

Director: Les Blair

Bad Behaviour is a quirky comedy of manners set amongst a group of North Londoners — a British thirty-something of remarkable insight and warmth. It's no surprise that the film seems a perfect synthesis of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach's styles as Les Blair is a longtime companion of both. He produced several of Leigh's earlier films and here, utilising many of the same actors, he has, like Leigh, honed an improvised script — hence no screenplay credit — into a sertes of sharp comic performances from his small but dexterous cast. The film is driven by beautifully nuanced character playing which makes you want to follow this band of eccentrics to the end.

Stephen Rea (Crying Came) heads the list as an eco-fnendly council town-planning officer with a hangdog, downbeat charm — his wife (a radiant Sinead Cusack) is quietly going through a mid-life crisis while juggling the triple demands of family, a part-time job and a stalled writing career. To complicate their lives further, building repairs guaranteed by the local schemer go awry and they find it is not only their lives that seem to be crumbling around them.

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