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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.
Spanning the 1910 decade, six years in the life of a girl named Chris, one of the numerous children of a tyrannical Scottish farmer. Years of high hopes and of disillusionment, of mirth and sorrow, of dreaming and toiling, of sweetness and violence, of love and hate, of peace and war. And in the end, the dignified loneliness of a new Chris, a woman who seems to have gone through several lives, now and forever as one with the land, the earth eternal...Written by
The pipes in the closing scene were acquired from the Caledonian Society Of Uganda, and were made at the turn of the century by "Glens" of Edinburgh. They were picked up after a recent visit to Uganda to play at a Burns Supper. James A. Adamson, the piper, appeared as an extra in the BBC adaptation of Sunset Song (1971), in one of the Arbuthnott Church scenes. See more »
At about 55:50 minutes in the main characters are standing talking in the high street as a flock of sheep moves past them. There are two of what appear to be large steel bollards on either side of the road. As the sheep progress through the scene the left hand bollard on screen wobbles as the sheep come into contact with it. See more »
A languid exploration of Scottish highland life in the early 20th century.
Sunset Song is a classic Scottish novel, part of a trilogy by Lewis Grassic Gibbon and much loved by many, many people (including my wife).
I confess to having not read it, so had no particular expectations when approaching this movie which happens to have been made possible by two of my friends, Bob Last and Ginnie Atkinson.
It will divide audiences because the pace is slow.
But I loved it.
Much media attention has focused on the casting of supermodel come actor Agyness Deyn (completely contrived name) as a Mancunian playing a seminal Scottish role but I have to say I liked her performance, and her accent. The scene in which she learns of her husband's war news is particularly well acted.
Of course this movie is about Terence Davies. He makes very few but when he does they tend to be statements about British life and, for me, this is another great entry in his canon of work.
Davies could have made a feminist statement through Deyn's character, had she been more assertive, but he resists the temptation and instead reflects the male dominance of relationships in the early 20th century (leading up to and including the first world war).
Two and a bit hours, with zero action, and not much dialogue can't be most people's cup of tea (much has been made of the regular return to a certain corn field but, you know what, I didn't care).
It is a languid and lovely observation of a lifestyle that is long past and male dominated.
Special mentions for the ever brilliant Peter Mullan (a beastly father) and a great performance by Kevin Guthrie as the husband of the central character.
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