Archive of films Of Time and the City / Of Time and the City
2008, 74 min
Section: Open Eyes
Renowned British director Terence Davies returns to his childhood haunts in Liverpool, reconstructing them with authentic footage from the period. A riveting documentary film that reflects not only the poetic style of Davies’s previous work but also the delicate treatment he affords the musical accompaniment.
On the outside, Liverpool is the city that gave the world the Beatles and the home of the most successful club in the history of the English football league. On closer inspection, however, it’s an unattractive place full of Functionalistic architecture in a pitiable state. But most importantly, it’s a city full of people. In the optic of Terence Davies’s poetic documentary, it is not the monuments and illustrious families that matter, but rather the city’s inhabitants. Like Guy Maddin in the film My Winnipeg (KVIFF, 2008), Davies’ portrait of his hometown also betrays a personal obsession that gives the film its unmistakable structure. This structure is created through chronological narration enhanced by the contrapuntal integration of the music and themes that recall the director’s feature work. The latter is also evoked in the serene atmosphere of the film as a whole, disturbed only by sporadic angry comments from the director himself. Davies introduces his hometown with a kind of enchantment, but at the same time strictly avoids any form of idealisation.
About the director
Terence Davies (b. 1945, Liverpool, United Kingdom) has been setting his films in his home town since the very beginning of his career. His trilogy of short films Children (1976), Madonna and Child (1980) and Death and Transfiguration (1983) is set in Liverpool, as is his pioneering Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), which won the festival in Locarno, was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes IFF and was nominated for five European Film Awards. Davies has also competed in Cannes with the films The Long Day Closes (1992) and The Neon Bible (1995), in which actress Gena Rowlands gives a stunning performance. The main role in the film House of Mirth (2000) was played by American actress Gillian Anderson.