7.3/10
1,899
30 user 73 critic

Of Time and the City (2008)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography | 31 October 2008 (UK)
Trailer
2:17 | Trailer
A filmmaker looks at the history and transformation of his birthplace, Liverpool, England.

Director:

Terence Davies

Writer:

Terence Davies
2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Uncredited cast:
Terence Davies ... Self - Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Edit

Storyline

Terence Davies (1945- ), filmmaker and writer, takes us, sometimes obliquely, to his childhood and youth in Liverpool. He's born Catholic and poor; later he rejects religion. He discovers homo-eroticism, and it's tinged with Catholic guilt. Enjoying pop music gives way to a teenage love of Mahler and Wagner. Using archival footage, we take a ferry to a day on the beach. Postwar prosperity brings some positive change, but its concrete architecture is dispiriting. Contemporary colors and sights of children playing may balance out the presence of unemployment and persistent poverty. Davies' narration is a mix of his own reflections and the poems and prose of others. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Mark Kermode listed this as his favourite film of the last decade. See more »

Connections

References Victim (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Hooray for Hollywood
Written by Johnny Mercer and Richard A. Whiting
Published by Warner Chappell Music Ltd.
Performed by Johnnie Davis (as Johnny "Scat" Davis), Dick Powell, Frances Langford, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
From "HOTEL HOLLYWOOD" Film
Licensed courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment
See more »

User Reviews

 
Poetical, polemical and romantic
17 November 2008 | by Robert_WoodwardSee all my reviews

Of Time and the City is a very personal portrait of the city of Liverpool. Created by Liverpool-born director Terence Davies, funded by Northwest Vision and Media and released in the year that the city holds the status of European Capital of Culture, this film charts the tumultuous story of Liverpool in the time-frame of the director's life. The city's story slides from the high hopes of the post-war era to the ominous onset of the Korean War, plunging into the malaise of tower block housing and declining industries before the gradual revival and regeneration of the late twentieth century.

The film consists largely of archive footage from across the past 60 years, book-ended with some new-filmed footage orchestrated by Davies himself. The old film used in Of Time and the City is superbly edited into a continuously evolving story. There are some astonishing images here, from the vibrancy of the absurdly overcrowded 1950's waterfront to the decay and destruction of council housing in subsequent decades. What really sets this film apart, however, is the unique delivery of Davies's commentary. By turns poetical, polemical and romantic, Davies elevates this film beyond a documentary to create a stirring work of art.

Although often bitter and iconoclastic, Davies possesses a terrific dry sense of humour, which he directs against some of Liverpool's most-recognised exports, including the Beatles and the city's famous football club, as well as the current Queen Elizabeth (or 'the Betty Windsor show' as he terms it). But beyond this invective there is great warmth in Davies's film: it is much more a celebration of the people of Liverpool than the known sights and sounds of Liverpool. The emphasis of the film footage – old and new – is on the lives of the ordinary people living in the city: children playing in crowded streets, families at the seaside, great crowds at sporting events. Davies sets these ordinary goings on to a soundtrack of superb classical music and intersperses them with numerous borrowed lines from literary greats, adapting high art to celebrate the lives of the people in Liverpool. Throughout the film there are also modest fragments of Davies's own story, which emphasises the deeply personal nature of this film.

Of Time and the City is not a methodical history of Liverpool's post-war history – such a film would have to run for a lot longer – and it is shot through with Davies's strong opinions and acerbic wit. His delivery is often challenging to follow, but it makes for a vivid and engrossing film whose depth and complexity merits repeated viewing.


17 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 30 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Del tiempo y la ciudad See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,595, 25 January 2009

Gross USA:

$32,677

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$523,417
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed