09 20 Oct '24
B3c559c0 f3d7 4742 b709 7c0b37445864

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

3a233fd1 8bf9 44d4 870a f9f27fdc641e
A3225005 4707 45de 81ad 1c16db55418e
2e0acb79 ec29 4ed6 82a7 e368456e094f
52b27982 050c 4b3a b61c edc84247569f
E5b5efc3 0377 47f3 96f4 4ca11b9052d9
2957a62f 630d 4923 874b e2987b336fa6
Be81d388 6871 4f53 aa9b 6e9aa9c1a4b6
B3c559c0 f3d7 4742 b709 7c0b37445864
A38d283f 7485 483e 85b2 963589c34874



Terence Davies


Freda Dowie, Pete Postlethwaite, Angela Walsh


Terence Davies

Director of Photography

William Diver, Patrick Duval


William Diver


Jennifer Howarth

More information



Countries of production

United Kingdom




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)

Stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter

Do you want to stay up to date with festival news, our year-round activities, the films and the filmmakers?