Image of movie THE NEON BIBLE
Image of movie THE NEON BIBLE
Image of movie THE NEON BIBLE


Terence Davies
Großbritannien 1995
91 min

Ein Junge unterwegs in einem Zug; er bewegt sich fort und schaut zugleich zurück; jeder Blick aus dem Fenster ein Schwenk in eine Rückblende. Am Ende ist er immer noch nicht angekommen, doch bereits erwachsen. THE NEON BIBLE ist der Scharnier-Film in Davies Werk. Thematisch bewegt der Filmemacher sich zwar weiterhin auf vertrautem Terrain und arbeitet sich an der Geschichte eines Heranwachsens ab – angesiedelt diesmal im US-amerikanischen Süden der 1940er Jahre. Erstmals aber adaptiert er mit John Kennedy Tooles 1989 posthum veröffentlichtem, gleichnamigem Roman einen fremden Stoff und beweist sein Fingerspitzengefühl für die Literatur. (Alexandra Seitz)

Davies’ third feature film was his first literary adaptation, taken from the novel that the late John Kennedy Tool (A Confederacy of Dunces) wrote at the age of 16. It is also the first of a number of films Davies would go on to make regarding American history. THE NEON BIBLE is the story of David, a 15-year-old boy growing up in rural Georgia, just prior to the U.S. entering World War II. A shy, quiet boy, David lives with his loving, unstable mother and a cruel, belligerent father. Their lives shift significantly with the arrival of David’s Aunt Mae (a superb Gena Rowlands), a worldly, liberated woman who has seen big cities and rejects the community’s harsh evangelical morality. Opening and closing with David sitting alone on a train as it speeds through the night, the film displays Davies’ already-established concern with memory and subjectivity.
The filmmaker recreates the 1940s American South with deliberate theatricality, recalling the work of Davies’ contemporary Derek Jarman. Despite this artifice, THE NEON BIBLE is an ambitious film. Upon its release, critics and even Davies himself suggested that the film’s reach exceeded its grasp. However, considering its prescience regarding violent masculinity and fundamentalism as tools of oppression, this film is long overdue for reconsideration. (Michael Sicinski)

  • Jacob Tierney - David
  • Diana Scarwid - Sarah, David's mother
  • Denis Leary - Frank, David's father
  • Gena Rowlands - Mae, David's aunt
  • Terence Davies
  • Michael Coulter
  • Charles Rees
  • Robert Lockhart
  • Christopher Hobbs
  • Monica Howe
Channel Four Films, Scala Productions, Screen Partners Ltd., Iberoamericana Films Producción, Academy Pictures, Three Rivers Production
Film 4 / Paramount @ Park Circus
35 mm
Mi. 27 Okt
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