08 19 Oct '24
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Terence Davies

Distant Voices, Still Lives

Edition 2023
84' - 1988 - Drama, Music/Musical - Dialogue: English
Director: Terence Davies With: Freda Dowie, Pete Postlethwaite, Angela Walsh
Distant Voices, Still Lives explores family dynamics and domestic life in post-war Liverpool. Directed by Terence Davies, this cinematic masterpiece weaves together a tapestry of memories and emotions through its non-linear narrative, delivering a deeply affecting portrayal of ordinary lives marked by both love and pain.
In this heart-wrenching flashback at the daily life of a working-class family in 1950s Liverpool, everyone suppresses their pain by collectively singing popular tunes of the era. Through the songs, the characters unconsciously express their deepest feelings and desires. These autobiographical memories exude an overwhelming emotional power, even though there are scenes of mental and physical violence (the father ruling as a tyrant over his family), the film's tone remains gentle and delightfully melancholic. According to Terence Davies, memories are not linear but cyclical, so he opted for a daring non-linear structure, a cinematic equivalent to how our memory works, with fragments of memories that, in turn, trigger new memories.
"Based on the memories of his older brothers and sister (as well as his own), Distant Voices, Still Lives is a 50's family album come to life, filled with all the intimate details and complex structures of their relationships. Utterly gripping and intensely moving." - National Film Theatre Notes

Image gallery

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Credits

Director

Terence Davies

With

Freda Dowie, Pete Postlethwaite, Angela Walsh

Scenario

Terence Davies

Director of Photography

William Diver, Patrick Duval

Editor

William Diver

Producer

Jennifer Howarth

More information

Dialogue

English

Countries of production

United Kingdom

Year

1988

Filmography

Terence Davies
Children (short, 1976), Madonna and Child (short, 1980), Death and Transfiguration (short, 1983), The Terence Davies Trilogy (1983), Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), The Long Day Closes (1992), The Neon Bible (1995), House of Mirth (2000), Of Time and the City (2008), The Deep Blue Sea (2011), Sunset Song (2015), A Quiet Passion (2016), But Why? (short, 2021), Benediction (2021)

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