Set in 1940s England, Distant Voices, Still Lives is a compassionate look at a radically dysfunctional family. Drawing from his childhood in post-war Liverpool, Davies is haunted by the imposing presence of a violent father. Postlethwaite (the father) delivers a performance by turns ferocious and tragic as the action flits between the terraced house that was his fiefdom and the hospital bed where he breathes his last. Carefully composed images seem to emerge from dark corners of the house and boldly lingering shots of mundane details, like curtains wafting in the wind, heighten the eeriness. –BBC Films
Terence Davies was born in Liverpool on 10 November 1945, the youngest child in a large working-class family. After working for ten years as a clerk in a shipping office and a book-keeper in an accountancy firm, he entered Coventry School of Drama in 1971. There he wrote the script for Children, which he directed after he left with backing from the BFI Production Board. He then went to the National Film School, where he completed Madonna and Child as his graduation film in 1980. Three years later, thanks to funding from the Greater London Arts Association and the BFI, he made Death and Transfiguration. These three short to medium-length films comprise The Terence Davies Trilogy, which put him on the cinematic map as one of the most original British film-makers of the late 20th century.
In the Trilogy and the two films that followed, Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) and The Long Day Closes (1992), Davies reconstructs his childhood and youth in a working-class district of Liverpool… read more
Davies' most perfectly realized film and an absolute masterpiece. Almost unbearably moving and gorgeous, with a stellar cast. Hard to believe it lasts only 85 minutes, as it feels like a film that could go on forever.
This is a very moving and personal look at a family that would have been too harrowing to watch if it were not for the genuine compassion of Terence Davies for the characters and his brilliant and innovative use of the musical score.The score provides a soft focus lens for the brutality of the patriarch of the family and the ongoing consequences in addition to an accurate timeframe for the unfolding drama.
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