The reception of "Secrets and Lies" by the press was so overwhelmingly
positive that the press conference tended to run in the direction of "how
does it feel to win the Palm d'Or," even though it was only three days
into the festival.
Everybody at a Cannes press conference would also presumably kow how Mike
Leigh develops his stories, namely by working with actors on improvisation
sessions for months before filming.
Q: Congratulations on a great film, and if I - as a black man - may ask
Miranda Richardson who so brilliantly created the character, how come Brenda
could not remember having had sex with a black man? (roar of laughter)
Miranda Richardson: It was a fleeting thing, not so very important at the
time - but wait! I'm betraying Brenda by telling you all this. If she
didn't remain conscious of it, I certainly should not be talking about it
now! Let's just agree that she had plenty of other problems to preoccupy
her. That's just the way she is.
Q: You seem to be using the quest for the biological parent as a trigger
for the story? Does it have any other specia meaning for you?
Mike Leigh: Well, in 1976, England passed a law that gave adopted kids the
right to discover who their biological parents were. I became intimately
aware of situation - which I obviously cannot discuss here for reasons of
privacy - and that's the original idea for the story. But yes, it also
has metaphorical implications - it's about the need to discover who we are
or what we are - the who and what not necessarily being the same thing,
of course. It's aso a metaphor for another kind of search into one's own
being - and becoming.
And as Mike Leigh was leaving the press conference, Film Scout Karen Jaehne
asked him how he felt about his likelihood of winning the Golden Palm, and
Mike Leigh: The festival has just begun. I remember a few years ago being
here with "Naked," and it also played early and everybody put
up a lot of fuss. In three days it was completely forgotten, because other
films come along, so I don't listen to all this kind of thing now. Actually,
I'm on my way back to London tomorrow, because I have to get back to work
on my next film. Festivals are interesting - but I'm not sure they offer
an accurate reaction to one's work. The atmosphere is a bit overheated,
don't you think?