Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. United Kingdom, 1992. British Film Institute, Channel Four Films, Film Four International. Screenplay by Terence Davies. Cinematography by Michael Coulter. Produced by Olivia Stewart, Angela Topping. Music by Bob Last, Robert Lockhart. Production Design by Christopher Hobbs. Costume Design by Monica Howe. Film Editing by William Diver. The Criterion Collection. Cannes Film Festival 1992.
Exquisite masterpiece from the filmmaker who always makes movies that seem to come out of lingering dreams. Here he focuses on Liverpool in the post-war era, dipping into his own memories of his mother and his childhood for a seemingly formless but razor-sharp appreciation of all the beauty that life provides in the middle of hardship and chaos. Something as simple as a woman giving her child money to go to the movies becomes incredibly moving under Davies’ deft touch, but it’s not all softness: Davies is as unapologetic about the fun he had with his family as he is about their reaction to having a black man show up on their doorstep. The languid images combine with a whole slew of musical selections from his youth (some of them played in their entirety) to make for a deeply heartfelt exercise in nostalgia. It rides on the edge between conventional narrative cinema and Jarman-esque experimentation, but its beauty is so profound that it never alienates its viewer. Received the rare honour of a ten-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere, and it is easy to see why.