Leon the Pig Farmer

A polished low-budget effort, this derives its laughs from the confusion that blights a Jewish boy (Frankel) who discovers that he's the product of early experiments in artificial insemination; his biological father is not North London net-curtain king Sidney Geller (De Keyser), but one Brian Chadwick (Glover), a far from kosher pig farmer in the Yorkshire Dales. The guilt of it all! Sharply shot, cut and performed, this slight but very smart comedy proffers plenty of wittily absurd lines, a wealth of offbeat visual gags, and more than its fair share of invention. Curiously, however, it seems (for want of a better term) ideologically incoherent, or at least unreadable. Is it for or against the cosy repressions of Jewish family life? Endorsing or guying stereotypes? Are we meant to agree that personal and racial identity are defined primarily by the donor of sperm? Or that the hybridisation of farm animal species is somehow analogous to procreation between humans of different creeds? Still, it's pacy enough for its generous, mostly unsentimental humour to override more serious doubts.

Release details

Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Vadim Jean, Gary Sinyor
Screenwriter: Gary Sinyor, Michael Normand
Cast: Mark Frankel
Janet Suzman
Brian Glover
Connie Booth
David de Keyser
Maryam D'Abo
Gina Bellman
Annette Crosbie
Bernard Bresslaw
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