Directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh’s human drama in working class Britain

‘Definitely Not Downtown Abbey’ films at Belfast Free Library

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BELFAST — May's Friday Night Flix present “Definitely Not Downtown Abbey” films at Belfast Free Library.

Directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh are both English by birth and language, and would do the Bard proud, making some great films of human drama set in working class Britain, according to Belfast Free Library, in a news release. Both bring theater experience and well-crafted writing to the screen.

May's calendar only has five Fridays, so Karen Gleeson and Paul Sheridan have chosen their favorites to show.  

All the movies are free and take place at 7 p.m. in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Free Library.


On May 3, Secrets and Lies (1996) is a film which portrays a successful black optometrist (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) when she decides to find her birth mother. To her surprise, her mother is a working-class white woman (Brenda Blethyn) with a dysfunctional family.

The film was created in Leigh's improvisational style, with an ensemble cast of Leigh regulars, including Claire Rushbrook, Timothy Spall and Phyllis Logan.

136 minutes, in English and Greek, with subtitles, rated R.


Another film will be shown on May 10. I, Daniel Blake (2016) which tells of a 59-year old carpenter in Newcastle who suffers a heart attack, after which he applies for benefits. But his benefits are refused, because he is “too fit.” As he fights the system, he befriends others with similar problems.

This film was one of Ken Loach's most popular films in his native England. 100 minutes, rated R.


On May 17, Vera Drake (2004) tells about 1950s Britain. Vera is a hard-working woman who cleans houses and cares for her close family members. She also helps out her neighbors by performing back-room abortions for no charge. It is this service, then against the law, that breaks up her close family life.

125 minutes, rated R.


On May 24, Gleeson and Sheridan present the only American-based film. Ken Loach directed Bread and Roses (2000) about two Latina sisters who work as cleaners in downtown Los Angeles office buildings, and fight for the right to unionize.

The film is based on a real campaign of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to achieve better working conditions.

Many of the actors are cleaners in real life. Also starring starring Pilar Padilla, Adrien Brody and Elpidia Carrillo. 110 minutes, rated R.


The last film in the month's series, on May 31, is Another Year (2010). It is a story about aging and friendship, as experienced over the course of a year.  

Mike Leigh has again created a script based on his actors' improvised scenes. As usual, his actors include regulars Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville and Imelda Staunton.

129 minutes, rated PG-13.


Event Date: 

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 7:00pm
Fri, 05/10/2019 - 7:00pm
Fri, 05/17/2019 - 7:00pm
Fri, 05/24/2019 - 7:00pm
Fri, 05/31/2019 - 7:00pm

Event Location: 

Belfast Free Library


106 High Street
Belfast  Maine
United States