A filmmaker looks at the history and transformation of his birthplace, Liverpool, England.A filmmaker looks at the history and transformation of his birthplace, Liverpool, England.A filmmaker looks at the history and transformation of his birthplace, Liverpool, England.
Terence Davies casts a weary and at times tearful eye over the broad expanse of the city that shaped him. His homosexuality and the trauma that his deep catholic upbringing imposed on him made him a cynic. But that is not a bad thing. Cynicism is part of all of us and Davies imbibes his cynicism with mistrust and love and affection for a city that is in his marrow. Like the Scots, all true Liverpudlians, where e're they travel, are products of their upbringing and are never ashamed to admit it.
Watch this film with the sound off and it merely becomes a travelogue of the best and worst of this place. Watch and listen to Davies's commentary though, and the film takes on a vibrancy that fairly pulsates. Liverpool, through this film, becomes a city that breeds high blood pressure. For every beautiful building there is a slum, for every shopping mall there is a 'Bluecoat Chambers', for every wino begging on the subway there is a wisecracking Scouser trying to sell you something on the open-air markets, for every tragedy there is a joyous moment, for every factory that closes there is an entrepreneur starting up.
This polyglot of a city breathes..and it breathes life into its people. Walk down some of the old original cobbled alleys off Dale Street or Whitechapel (how did the planners miss them!!) and you can hear this city despairingly whisper into your ear.."Don't forget me!"
Davies captures the city and its contradictions and does it beautifully through his careful choice of film and especially through his words.
For him it's a love affair and like all such things there is hurt, despair, complacency, anger and moments of pure joy. He can hate his city with a vengeance but it flows through his veins. He knows it and he knows he'll never escape from it.
This is HIS Valentines card to HIS city and he has signed his name on it.
For the rest of us, this is Liverpool drawn on a wide canvas but in such sharp detail that it needs more than one viewing.
- Jul 8, 2009