Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Filmmakers You Should Know: Terence Davies, Cinematic Poet of Mid-Century British Melodrama

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Indiewire March 23, 2012 at 1:38PM

For nearly 30 years, Terence Davies has maintained a reputation as one of British cinema's brightest voices with just a half dozen features.
1

Editor's Note: Filmmakers You Should Know is a regular column about working filmmakers who have amassed a significant body of work. This installment focuses on Terence Davies, whose "The Deep Blue Sea" opens today. Let us know about other filmmakers you would like to see featured in this column in the comments section.

Man Out of Time: Terence Davies'  "Of Time and the City"
A scene from Terence Davies's "Of Time and the City." Image courtesy of Strand Releasing.


For nearly 30 years, Terence Davies has maintained a reputation as one of British cinema's brightest voices. However, during that period he has only made a half dozen features, excluding three early shorts that put him on the map. His latest effort, "The Deep Blue Sea," opens in limited release this weekend a full decade after the filmmaker's last narrative effort, "The House of Mirth."

For those familiar with his work, it's clear that time hasn't robbed him of his interests, as "Deep Blue Sea" is distinctly in tune with everything preceding it: Almost all of Davies' films take place in the immediate postwar, middle-class British climate where he grew up. Even the two deviations from this setting ("The Neon Bible" takes place around the same time in Georgia and "The House of Mirth" is set at the turn of the century) maintain Davies' fixation on Catholic guilt and tortured souls coping with spiteful parents and lovers.

His solemn narratives are on an axis that draws heavily from the mournful tradition of Douglas Sirk -- but they're also masterful nostalgia trips, littered with melodies and lush, colorful images that evoke in an era in a truly lyrical fashion. Although Davies' painstaking approach to period detail is evident in the amount of time between his various films, reports of his plans to adapt the Scottish novel "Sunset Song" as well as "Mother of Sorrows" suggest he has yet to grow tired of exploring the past.

SELECTED WORK

"The Terence Davies Trilogy" (1984)

A compilation of Davies' first three short films -- the devastating "Children," the experimental look at homosexual regret "Madonna and Child" and the powerfully evocative "Death and Transfiguration" -- this trilogy displayed Davies' penchant for intimate explorations of his own experiences as the chief source of inspiration.

"Distant Voices, Still Lives"
"Distant Voices, Still Lives"
"Distant Voices, Still Lives" (1988)

A landmark portrait of 1950s Liverpool bolstered by Pete Postlethwaite in a monstrous, landmark performance as the overbearing man of the house, "Distant Voices, Still Lives" is divided into two parts made over the course of two years and following the same family. Light on plot and heavy on mood, "Distant Voices, Still Lives" is comprised of incidents and atmosphere to convey Davies' memories.

"The Long Day Closes" (1992)

Davies' sophomore feature takes an even grander step beyond conventional narrative with an immersive collage of small moments from the life of an alienated Liverpool child (Leigh McCormack) coping with bullies and hiding from the world with his beloved family. Another clear-cut assemblage of Davies memories, the movie also samples voiceover from "The Magnificent Ambersons" and spectacular fantasy sequences to convey the disconnect the the young Davies' stand-in experiences in relation to the world around him.

This article is related to: Terence Davies, Filmmakers You Should Know






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More