27 August 2009 | gregking4
a melancholic memoir filled with a bitter tone of loss and regret
This evocative mood piece will resonate strongly with those who have seen Terence Davies' autobiographical film Distant Voices, Still Lives, a haunting portrait of a family in post-war Liverpool, which is widely regarded as one of the best British films of the past twenty years. This documentary tracing the history of Liverpool in the post WWII years is a deeply personal film for Davies, who explores the way in which the city has changed over 60 years. Drawing upon his own memories of his childhood and a wealth of archival footage, Davies explores the dichotomy of Liverpool – the character of the old city and the impersonal nature of the new – and the conflict between his Catholic upbringing and his homosexuality. Davies reveals how his love of movies and the wrestling helped save him. His rich, erudite and poetic narration adds a rich texture to the material, which explores how the working class city of Liverpool has lost much of its sense of identity over time. The film is filled with anecdotes drawing upon his childhood memories, all of which are beautifully illustrated by archival footage accompanied by popular songs from the era. This richly evokes a time and a place. Davies draws upon poetry, popular songs from yesteryear as source material for many of his quotes and literary readings. Davies also displays a wonderfully iconoclastic sense of humor, as he colorfully expresses his disdain for Liverpool's favorite sons The Beatles, and his contempt for the Royal family. The film is a melancholic memoir filled with a bitter tone of loss and regret. Of Time And The City is a much more accessible film than Guy Maddin's recent obscure My Winnipeg, which similarly attempted a nostalgic look at the city of his birth.