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.
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
Freda Dowie had already been in Terence Davies' thoughts for the role of the Mother after he had seen her in several TV roles. One day, when looking at potential casting, Davies asked a colleague to throw him a copy of Spotlight for Actresses and it fell open on the floor, at Freda Dowie's page. He considered this a good omen and confirmed the casting. See more »
That's all we need, you singing. As if life isn't purgatory enough without that.
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Pete posthlewaite hits a performance that is so unique it is frightening. so true was the passion there where times in the movie when I wished he would die! The episodic and random nature of the flashbacks made it seem like memories from one's own childhood which reinforced the naturalistic acting and indeed made it almost voyeuristic! The true beauty of the film lies in the realism of the scenes and in the accurate depiction of life as it really is in all it's ugliness! Above all the movie said to me that out of "brutallity" can come "compassion and humanity". One scene really hits home is the Christmas scene where the camera pans up an idyllic British street where the Christmas lights are shining and by nature our faces are starting to smile and then dissolves into the living room where the family are sitting in expectation. You can feel the tension as you see the first shot and when he pulls the tablecloth off the table and shouts "CLEAN THIS UP",I remember jumping up!!! MASTERPIECE In my eyes yes! 10 OUT OF 10
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