Terence Davies – Past and Passion

The Terence Davies Trilogy

Terence Davies

UK 1980. 101 Min.
b/w. DCP. E/d

A triptych that consists of three medium-length early works in black and white: Children (1976), Madonna and Child (1980) and Death and Transfiguration (1983) provide an insight into the life of a boy, an adult and an old man named Robert Tucker, whom Davies imbues with autobiographical motifs.


To begin with we have the highly religious boy, who is being harassed by his classmates at the repressive Catholic school and left alone with his worries and troublesome feelings. Then there is the lonely bachelor who yearns for other men, who still lives with his mother, who in turn seems to know about her son's homosexuality yet can't find any comforting words for him. And, finally, we have the old man who is dying, who has long since buried his mother and never found happiness in his life.


Elegant montages repeatedly dissolve the (autobiographical) chronology and thereby let the sparse yet dense films of Terence Davies's trilogy weave into each other to create a monumental denouncement of repression and oppression. But the trilogy also knows beauty and hope, and the consolation of the captivating voice of Doris Day singing "It all depends on you".


DirectorTerence Davies
ScreenplayTerence Davies
CinematographyWilliam Diver
EditingMick Audsley, William Driver, Sarah Ellis, Digby Rumsey
WithPhilip Mawdsley, Nich Stringer, Valerie Lilley
ProducersClaire Barwell, Geoffrey Evans, Mike Maloney, Peter Shannon

Terence Davies