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Of Time and the City
The history of documentary film had its origin in the city, which served as a prevalent motif in early film history. Many early documentaries are characterised by the city as a symphony and by music as a structural design element. Liverpool-born feature director Terence Davies has created a filmic opera in this tradition, 'a love song or eulogy' to his birthplace – beyond football and the Beatles. The overall composition forms a unique and moving symphony of diverse elements – rare archive footage and current observations, the dramatic voice of the narrator-director, music by, amongst others, Anton Bruckner, the voice of the Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu and poems such as Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot. Liverpool's history is depicted in a way that documents the director's personal connections and relationships regarding poverty, Catholicism and homosexuality as well as the city's phoenix-like rise after the Second World War.
Terence Davies is one of the most respected filmmakers in cinema today. His dark and powerful trilogy, all set in Liverpool, Children (1976), Madonna and Child (1980) and Death and Transfiguration (1983) develops powerful themes of forbidden sexuality, Catholicism, violence, loss, death and childhood. But it is in his 1988 film Distant Voices, Still Lives, again drawing on his Liverpool roots, that these become blended with a sense of hope beyond the miseries of difficult daily life. Later films, like The Long Day Closes, (1992) are also set in Liverpool, House of Mirth (2000) has also been garnered with awards. His latest feature film The Deep Blue Sea (2011), starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston received great critical acclaim.