Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed a novella in the Lacey Flint mystery series, Here Be Dragons. Tina told us about an upcoming, now available, interview on BBC Radio with Peter Robinson, author of the DCI Banks’ mysteries. Sim visited Epping Forest, at the end of the Central Line of the London Underground. Becky reviewed a romance that alludes to The Little Mermaid — Silent Songbird.
The Evening Standard called Terence Davies “Britain’s greatest living film director.”
We’ve watched three of his films recently. As one might expect from a director renowned by modern critics, they are out on the cutting edge of artistry. Davies specializes in beautiful visuals accompanied by gorgeous recorded music — mostly classical pieces and popular songs from the pre-Rock-n-Roll era.
The Long Day Closes. I only lasted about twenty minutes through this film. It’s beautiful and moody, but there’s not much of a plot. Rick appreciates lack of plot more than I do and he liked the slow development of the boy in the film and the visual and audio richness. The film is set in Liverpool of the 1950s, so you get a good sense of the post-war austerity that went on for so long in England.
The Deep Blue Sea. This is a film version of a play from the early 1950s. This one has a plot and I watched it all the way through. Post-war London is beautifully shot in intimate spaces near bombed-out buildings. The woman character was unconvincing to me and the plot revolves around her motivations, so it didn’t work well as a story. But, I did enjoy the experience of seeing it.
Of Time and the City. This was my favorite of the three — which is a little odd since it has even less of a plot than The Long Day Closes. Of Time and the City is considered a documentary. Most of the film is composed of vintage footage of Liverpool. Terence Davies provides a voice-over of quotes, poems, personal essays (sometimes with humorously snarky opinions), and bits of memoir. Lush music underlies and is interspersed between the spoken word pieces. This is not a film to watch when you’re in the mood for a good story, but it’s definitely a good one for when you’re in the mood for an experience that’s steeped in the ordinary and, yet, transcends it.
Have you seen any Terence Davies films? Do you have others to recommend while we’re exploring this director?