Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom, 2008. Screenplay by Terence Davies. Cinematography by Tim Pollard. Produced by Roy Boulter, Sol Papadopoulos. Music by Ian Neil. Film Editing by Liza Ryan-Carter. Academy Awards 2008. New York Film Critics 2009. Toronto International Film Festival 2008.
Terence Davies’ fictional films have often had a deep, resonant preoccupation with his beloved birthplace of Liverpool and the post-war era that he witnessed in his childhood. Coming after an eight year absence from the screen, this personal project finally comes to fruition with Davies’ further examination of the city’s survival after the war, this time using actual stock footage. Davies’ own smooth, searching voice plays over the soundtrack as he reads quotes, literary passages and his own musings to display the courage and creativity of Liverpool’s survival that he learns concurrently with the discovery of his own sexuality as he comes of age. The footage is haunting and assembled with great care and dedication, though fans of something like The Long Day Closes might prefer his fictional recreations of his memories. There’s still plenty to be gained from watching this touching and heartfelt record of a time and place that plays like a melancholy paean and avoids trying to teach you anything in a trite manner.