Distant Voices, Still Lives

 

 

It is said that evil people have no songs. This is a statement one might start questioning when faced with the kind of people who incessantly break into song in this film. That is, when they are not bad-mouthing each other, firing off abuse or even becoming physical – usually the men beating their wives or their children.
In his autobiographically inspired feature debut Distant Voices, Still Lives, Davies portrays a certain social class at a certain place at a certain time: in vignettes arranged as tableaux, he tells of the life of a working class family in 1940s and early 50s Liverpool. And he does so with a stylised, yes almost abstract gesture, which allows the universally human to emanate from the sociologically specific. It is as if the songs express dreams and longings, warm-hearted feelings and friendliness, while language is reserved for confrontation and thus for the harsher sides of reality. Understanding and sympathy are more likely to be found in songs, while a mute gaze describes the pains of everyday life. (as)

 

 

UK 1988
85 Min. Color. DCP. E/df

Director: Terence Davies

Script: Terence Davies

Camera: William Driver, Patrick Duval

Editor: William Driver

Cast: Fred Dowie, Pete Postlethwaite, Dean Willliams, Angela Walsh


 

Terence Davies - Past and Passion
Bildrausch 2017