The lives of an English working-class family are told out of order in a free-associative manner. The first part, "Distant Voices", focuses on the father's role in the family. The second part, "Still Lives", focuses on his children.
Davies' film is divided into three segments entitled "Children", "Madonna and Child", and "Death and Transfiguartion". The segments tell the life of Robert Tucker. The first segment looks ... See full summary »
While on a train, a teenage boy thinks about his life and the flamboyant aunt whose friendship acted as an emotional shield from his troubled family. This film evokes the haunting quality ... See full summary »
In sepia tones, the film moves back and forth among three periods in Robert Tucker's life: he's an old man, near death, in a nursing home at Christmas time; he's in middle age caring for ... See full summary »
Robert Tucker, a sorrowful, solitary man, given to bouts of weeping, tries to balance his life caring for his aging mother, his Catholicism, his homosexuality, and his dull job. One night, ... See full summary »
Robert Tucker, a young gay man who is almost without affect, sits in various waiting rooms. As he sits, he recalls events from the year of his childhood when his father dies. He's ten or ... See full summary »
A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration.
The second film in Terence Davies's autobiographical series ('Trilogy', 'The Long Day Closes') is an impressionistic view of a working-class family in 1940s and 1950s Liverpool, based on Davies's own family. The first part, 'Distant Voices', opens with grown siblings Eileen (Angela Walsh), Maisie (Lorraine Ashbourne) and Tony (Dean Williams), and their mother (Freda Dowie) arranged in mourning clothes before the photograph of their smiling father (Pete Postlethwaite). Soon after, the family poses in a similar tableau, but for a happier occasion - Eileen's wedding. While relatives sing at her reception, Eileen hysterically grieves for her dad, and recalls happy times of her youth. Tony and Maisie's memories, however, are more troubled. Davies intermingles and contrasts scenes like the family peacefully lighting candles in church with the brutal man beating his wife and terrorizing his young children. In 'Still Lives', set (and filmed) two years later, the siblings are settled in life, ...Written by
Freda Dowie had already been in Terence Davies' thoughts for the role of the Mother after he had seen her in several TV roles. One day, when looking at potential casting, Davies asked a colleague to throw him a copy of Spotlight for Actresses and it fell open on the floor, at Freda Dowie's page. He considered this a good omen and confirmed the casting. See more »
That's all we need, you singing. As if life isn't purgatory enough without that.
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One of the most rewarding and unique films I've ever seen.
It's difficult to say exactly what this luminous masterpiece is about. It's a memoir of sorts but a highly stylized one where memories are re-experienced and conveyed through songs, frequently communally sung; painful familial interactions powerfully shot as if the scenes were paintings or sets on a stage. This formal approach resonates simultaneously with richness and alienation, pathos and ecstasy. Difficult to shake.
Not at all what I expected and there's certainly nothing quite like it anywhere in the history of cinema. Powerfully acted and masterfully directed: One of the great works of British movie-making.
I also highly recommend Davies' two other great works: "The Long Day Closes" and the recent, made for Showtime movie starring an amazing Gillian Anderson, "The House of Mirth." I personally didn't care that much for "The Neon Bible."
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