Image of movie Distant Voices, Still Lives
Image of movie Distant Voices, Still Lives
Image of movie Distant Voices, Still Lives

Distant Voices, Still Lives

Terence Davies
United Kingdom 1988
84 min

Terence Davies’ harsh but hugely evocative autobiographical film chronicles moments in the life of a working-class Liverpool family during the 1940s and 1950s. The brooding, macho father takes out his frustrations at his own life by terrorizing his wife and children. By contrast, the mother is a patient, kindly woman who goes to painstaking lengths to hold the family together.
DISTANT VOICES ranks with Bergman’s CRIES AND WHISPERS as one of the frankest, most harrowing films about terminal illness. The storytelling is episodic. Davies moves from tableau to tableau, as if taking us through an album of family memories. Although those memories are often grim, and although the film is shot in desaturated colors, this is a long way removed from the sometimes dour traditions of British social realism. The camerawork is often extraordinarily graceful. Take, for example, the wonderful early shot in which it tracks through the door, slowly moving toward the staircase and then beginning to turn as Davies leads us into the past. Meanwhile, even at the grimmest moments, there is always music playing on the radio, songs being sung in the pub or Hollywood movies showing in the local cinema to transport the family away from their oppressive daily lives. (Geoffrey Macnab)

In the presence of Terence Davies.

  • Freda Dowie - Mother
  • Peter Postlethwaite - Father
  • Angela Walsh
  • Dean Williams
  • Lorraine Ashbourne
  • Terence Davies
  • William Diver
  • Patrick Duval
  • William Diver
  • Monica Howe
British Film Institute (BFI), Channel Four Films, ZDF, Film Four International
BFI Distribution
Fri 22 Oct
Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus
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