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Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

PG-13 | | Drama, Music | 18 November 1988 (Italy)
The lives of an English working-class family are told out of order in a free-associative manner. The first part, "Distant Voices", focuses on the father's role in the family. The second part, "Still Lives", focuses on his children.

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10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mother
... Father
Angela Walsh ... Eileen
Dean Williams ... Tony
... Maisie
Sally Davies ... Eileen as a Child
Nathan Walsh ... Tony as a Child
Susan Flanagan ... Maisie as a Child
... Dave
Vincent Maguire ... George
Antonia Mallen ... Rose
Debi Jones ... Micky
Chris Darwin ... Red
Marie Jelliman ... Jingles
... Les
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Storyline

The second film in Terence Davies's autobiographical series ('Trilogy', 'The Long Day Closes') is an impressionistic view of a working-class family in 1940s and 1950s Liverpool, based on Davies's own family. The first part, 'Distant Voices', opens with grown siblings Eileen (Angela Walsh), Maisie (Lorraine Ashbourne) and Tony (Dean Williams), and their mother (Freda Dowie) arranged in mourning clothes before the photograph of their smiling father (Pete Postlethwaite). Soon after, the family poses in a similar tableau, but for a happier occasion - Eileen's wedding. While relatives sing at her reception, Eileen hysterically grieves for her dad, and recalls happy times of her youth. Tony and Maisie's memories, however, are more troubled. Davies intermingles and contrasts scenes like the family peacefully lighting candles in church with the brutal man beating his wife and terrorizing his young children. In 'Still Lives', set (and filmed) two years later, the siblings are settled in life, ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

singing | church | memory | wedding | 1950s | See All (38) »

Taglines:

In memory, everything happens to music.

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

18 November 1988 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Entfernte Stimmen - Stilleben  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$688,329
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

After an initial meeting, Pete Postlethwaite was was not impressed with Terence Davies as director nor the set up of the production. Davies was sure he was going to say no to the film, however his producer said not to worry and when they showed Postlethwaite the trilogy of earlier films Davies had made, he then agreed to star. See more »

Quotes

Eileen: That's all we need, you singing. As if life isn't purgatory enough without that.
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Soundtracks

Oh, Mein Papa
(uncredited)
Written by John Turner, Geoffrey Parsons, and Paul Burkhardt
Performed by Eddie Calvert
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User Reviews

 
One of the most rewarding and unique films I've ever seen.
2 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

It's difficult to say exactly what this luminous masterpiece is about. It's a memoir of sorts but a highly stylized one where memories are re-experienced and conveyed through songs, frequently communally sung; painful familial interactions powerfully shot as if the scenes were paintings or sets on a stage. This formal approach resonates simultaneously with richness and alienation, pathos and ecstasy. Difficult to shake.

Not at all what I expected and there's certainly nothing quite like it anywhere in the history of cinema. Powerfully acted and masterfully directed: One of the great works of British movie-making.

I also highly recommend Davies' two other great works: "The Long Day Closes" and the recent, made for Showtime movie starring an amazing Gillian Anderson, "The House of Mirth." I personally didn't care that much for "The Neon Bible."


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