World soundtrack awards
Distant voices, still lives
Archived: Distant voices, still lives - Distant voices, still lives (1988)

director: Terence Davies

With: Freda Dowie, Pete Postlethwaite, Angela Walsh, Dean Williams, a.o.

Film Fest Gent - Distant voices, still lives

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, but not all happily. For Eileen, relief from her drab existence comes only when singing at the pub. With his skillfully composed frames and evocative use of music in place of dialogue, Davies creates a lovely, affecting photo album of a troubled family wrestling with the complexity of love.


director: Terence Davies
producer: Jennifer Howarth

production company: British Film Institute (BFI)

More info

Country: UK
year: 1988


TERENCE DAVIES (1945): Children (1976, short), Madonna and Child (1980, short), The Terence Davies Trilogy (1983), Death and Transfiguration (1983, short), Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), The Long Day Closes (1992), The Neon Bible (1995), The House of Mirth (2000), Of Time and the City (2008), The Deep Blue Sea (2011), Sunset Song (2015), A Quiet Passion (2016).

Technical Specs

Other festival films by director Terence Davies

2016:A Quiet Passion
2016:Sunset Song
2000:House of mirth, the
1988:Distant voices, still lives
1988:Terence davies trilogy, the
1984:Terence davies trilogy, the
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