The Secrets and Lies of Film

Andrew Gleeson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    In Mike Leigh's 1996 film Secrets and Lies a black woman seeking her birth mother enters a white family, and shatters its walls of illusion. The family, and the audience, confront the questions of what distinguishes true from false marital and familial love. The film exhibits these distinctions in a thoughtful way, rather than preaching or arguing about them. It creates an object of enlightening contemplation rather than fuelling a sugar rush of feeling by violent sensory stimulation. This is what distinguishes art from propaganda or advertising. But film's sheer sensory power makes it uniquely susceptible, among the arts, for perversion in the latter ways. So ironically, artistically serious film must exercise an almost anti-filmic restraint. The temptation to overwhelm the critical faculties of its audience, to pander to its prejudices or desire to be 'thrilled', must be resisted.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEthics at the Cinema
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9780199869534
    ISBN (Print)9780195320398
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Art
    • Falsification
    • Film
    • Mike Leigh
    • Realism
    • Secrets and Lies
    • Senses


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