Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

What Hitchcock Got Wrong

Question: Why do you make films about ordinary people?

Mike Leigh: Well let me begin by quoting Alfred Hitchcock who memorably said: "A woman who spends all day washing and cooking and ironing doesn't want to go to the movies to watch a film about a woman who spends all day washing and cooking and ironing."  And, in my experience, Mr. Hitchcock’s assertion is rubbish because I really think people are greatly stimulated and enriched by experiencing in film just as we can from novels and other art, experiencing things that resonate with what our lives are about.  I think people really want to know... want to share, want to have the stimulus to think and care about the way they live their lives, the way they relate to other people, their aspirations, their hopes, et cetera. So, that is where I sit. And the fact that there is on a completely different planet from those of us in world cinema—because films are made all over the world all the time and only a thin slice of that product is Hollywood—but from the point of view of the rest of us it is all about using that movie camera to look at life, to capture it and to get to find ways of distilling the essence of it. But on this other planet which is called Hollywood there is this corporate, industrial, cynical process that makes films according to completely different criteria. 

Question: Do you feel you're thumbing your nose at Hollywood by making a film about lonely, old people?

Mike Leigh:  Well I mean you know I take no notice of the trends.  I really...  It doesn’t...  It has never concerned me at all.  I mean my job is to deal with what I want to deal with and reach an audience by doing so.  Indeed my last film, "Happy-Go-Lucky," did on the whole focus on youngish people, people that were around 30. And I did decide that now was time to deal with, apart from the various other things, "Another Year" is about people of my own age—I’m 67 right now—our generation and the fact that life is moving on and all of those things.  I’m not so much cocking my snoot at trends or anything else.  I’m not bothered about that.  I trust that if I make a film which is about issues surrounding older people it will actually talk to an audience and it’s already become clear that young audiences are absolutely as fascinated and engaged by Another Year as older audiences.  It crosses the age barriers and boundaries quite honestly.  One must not forget and it’s obvious to say this I know, that trends and all of those things and formulae that calculate what audiences want to see and what audiences don’t want to see and various other demographic demarcations are the eccentric and ludicrous prerogative of Hollywood studios. But out there in the real world—by which I mean the rest of the world where we make truthful organic films, independent films unimpeded by interference—it’s not about all those sort of calculating what is commercial.  It’s about wanting to say things and saying them in a way that will get through to people.

Recorded on October 7, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller

The British master of suspense once said that women who spent all day doing chores wouldn’t want to watch a film about a woman doing chores. Mike Leigh begs to differ.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Videos
  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast