Four years after Waterloo a different kind of battle was fought on British soil, Mike Leigh delivers a passionate and forceful historical drama about the time when the working class began to fight for their rights.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
The latest from Mike Leigh is an epic portrayal of the events surrounding the infamous 1819 Peterloo Massacre when British government forces attacked the crowd at a peaceful pro-democracy rally in St Peter’s Field in Manchester. Taking a wide scope that encompasses both the common citizens and their desire for fairer representation and the governmental players who are determined to block concessions by any means, Leigh delivers a multifaceted historical drama with unmistakable resonance for our current age.
“Leigh’s achievement is to have made a period film with the same immediacy and sense of anger that runs through contemporary dramas like Hillsborough or Bloody Sunday. He has a huge ensemble cast but that exhaustive attention to detail and fascination with the eccentricities of human behaviour which has always characterised his work is still there…
At 75, the British director is still clearly at the peak of his powers. Whatever else, his latest film will ensure that the bloody events in St Peter’s Field nearly 200 years ago are put back on the radar of politicians, historians and cultural commentators alike.” — Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent
“Against the backdrop of cinematographer Dick Pope’s beautiful Manchester/Lancashire canvas, the film weaves multiple stories of everyday people into a socialist tapestry and depicts an act of police brutality with huge contemporary relevance. Warm, funny and incendiary, this is a major work of cinema.” — Kate Taylor, London Film Festival