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579 Ratings

Distant Voices, Still Lives

Directed by Terence Davies
United Kingdom, 1988


Set in 1940s England, Distant Voices, Still Lives is a compassionate look at a radically dysfunctional family.

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Distant Voices, Still Lives Directed by Terence Davies

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1988 | Winner: FIPRESCI Prize (Directors' Fortnight)

Locarno International Film Festival

1988 | Winner: Golden Leopard

Independent Spirit Awards

1990 | Nominee: Best Foreign Film

[The] disjunctive stops and starts recur across Davies’s movie, whose look-back form — all elegiacally drifting camera movements and belted-out bar songs — endures as a grand cinematic anomaly.
August 28, 2018
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Davies, not a character in this film, was only six-years-old when his father died, yet his presence as a spectator is felt in the film’s formal elements. We are always aware of the camera’s presence here. In Distant Voices we see this to powerful effect in the glorious tableau composition of the family posed as if for a photo on Eileen’s wedding day. Slowness and stillness make us aware of the father’s physical absence and his detached presence in a photo on the wall behind them.
September 20, 2017
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A stunner of a first feature, this episodic chronicle of working-class life in postwar Liverpool was a personal and public exorcism for Davies, marked by his enduring compassion… With devotional simplicity and heartbreaking tenderness, its virtuoso set pieces of family ceremony and quotidian ritual lay bare a generation’s worth of compromises and betrayals. A masterpiece of the most exalted plane.
May 04, 2016
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