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Distant Voices, Still Lives

This is the first feature film of Liverpudlian Terence Davies, obviously autobiographical, dealing with a family called Davies and their lives during the 1940s and 1950s.

This is the first feature film of Liverpudlian Terence Davies, obviously autobiographical, dealing with a family called Davies and their lives during the 1940s and 1950s.

The film is divided into two parts: Distant Voices (45 mins) centers on the wedding of Eileen, eldest of the three Davies children, and the funeral of her father, events which spark memories of the past, including the frightening war years when the city was bombed frequently; Still Lives (39 mins) actually was filmed two years after the first part, with the same actors but with a substantially different crew. It’s a seamless continuation which climaxes with the wedding of another of the clan, son Tony.

The film is full of singing, as the characters break into familiar songs at family gatherings or in the local pub. This isn’t a film based on nostalgia, though; its very special qualities stem from the beautiful simplicity of direction, writing and playing, and the accuracy of the incidents depicted.

Distant Voices, Still Lives

UK

  • Production: BFI/Film Four. Director Terence Davies; Producer Jennifer Howarth; Screenplay Terence Davies; Camera William Diver, Patrick Duval; Editor William Diver; Art Director Miki van Zwanenberg
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1988. Running time: 84 MIN.
  • With: Freda Dowie Pete Postlethwaithe Angela Walsh Dean Williams Lorraine Ashbourne
  • Music By: