7.5/10
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28 user 34 critic

Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

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.

Director:

Terence Davies

Writer:

Terence Davies
10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Freda Dowie ... Mother
Pete Postlethwaite ... Father
Angela Walsh Angela Walsh ... Eileen
Dean Williams Dean Williams ... Tony
Lorraine Ashbourne ... Maisie
Sally Davies Sally Davies ... Eileen as a Child
Nathan Walsh Nathan Walsh ... Tony as a Child
Susan Flanagan Susan Flanagan ... Maisie as a Child
Michael Starke ... Dave
Vincent Maguire Vincent Maguire ... George
Antonia Mallen Antonia Mallen ... Rose
Debi Jones Debi Jones ... Micky
Chris Darwin Chris Darwin ... Red
Marie Jelliman Marie Jelliman ... Jingles
Andrew Schofield ... 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

Taglines:

In memory, everything happens to music.

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | West Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 November 1988 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Entfernte Stimmen - Stilleben See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$688,329
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was a 'labour of love' for director, cast and crew. Due to the very low budget, it had to be shot intermittently over a period of two years. See more »

Quotes

Micky: When they're not using their big stick, they're farting. Aren't men horrible?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Memories of 'The Long Day Closes' (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Is a Many-Splendoured Thing
by Sammy Fain & Paul Francis Webster
Conducted by David Firman
Orchestrated by Robert Lockhart
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wonderful but difficult film
16 July 2013 | by Wryter47See all my reviews

This is an important film and evidently is regarded as such by many serious reviewers, so I watched it and found it sometimes very hard to sit through because it struck more than a few painful chords in my own memory of my family when I was growing up in the 40s and 50s. Indeed.

My continuing impression is that men of that era, not only in the UK and US as well as elsewhere, were really almost clinically unreflective in that they were so used to being tolerated and getting away with murder that they were nearly incapable of seeing themselves in anything resembling a true light.

How women both sustained family life by themselves and because of their friendships with other women belies the fact that they felt powerless to change anything for the better, at least for more than five minutes.

My fantasy is that it would be great for a lot of men of my generation (now 70) to be tied down with their mouths taped and their eyes propped open with toothpicks, if need be, and forced to watch this movie about forty times! Since that's not going to happen, all I can do is recommend that the peers of my generation at least consider watching it. It can only do us good!

Peter


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