Terence Davies

“Terence Davies is one of the most distinctive talents to have emerged from British cinema in the last thirty years. His approach to film-making is the cinematic equivalent of literature’s magic realism, in which a vivid recreation of the everyday world is fused with dreams and memories to produce a form of hyper-realism, reflecting both the external world and inner world of the film-maker.” - Robert Shail (British Film Directors: A Critical Guide, 2007)

Terence Davies

Director / Screenwriter
(1945- ) Born November 10, Liverpool, England
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Country: UK
Key Genres: Drama, Period Film, Family Drama, Romantic Drama, Psychological Drama, Documentary
Key Collaborators: Olivia Stewart (Producer), William Diver (Editor), Michael Coulter (Cinematographer), William Diver (Cinematographer), Christopher Hobbs (Production Designer)

"Arguably the most important British filmmaker of his generation, Terence Davies is a poet of the cinema, at once austere and passionate... Davies developed a process dependent on meticulously designed shots, tableau-like evocations of memory linked by emotional (and musical) association more than narrative chronology... Although the 1950s childhood evoked in both Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes is in many ways painful and even harrowing, the films transcend social realism and self-pity in their distilled stylization, their loving recreation of time and space, and moments of intense communal joy (often involving song, cinema, or even slapstick comedy). Their combination of art-film style and reverence for working-class popular culture is unique in British cinema." - Tom Charity (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"British director best known for painful - and painstaking - portraits of childhood. Davies' own harrowing experiences at the hands of an abusive father colour and infuse all his portraits of a working-class Britain. Nonetheless, these are flavoursome, if slow - sometimes to the point of inertia - nostalgia pieces; their atmosphere is 100 per cent redolent of Davies' upbringing in a disease-ridden Liverpool slum area, the youngest of ten children." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"He shows a passionate concern with film craft, lamenting what he sees as the British instinct to use film as a medium for recorded theatre; primarily verbal, sentimental, and in the tight bodice of traditional narrative. His films are remarkably effective in disturbing, collective memories - and myths - of British cultural life with such cinematic ingenuity." - Saul Frampton (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"Made on low budgets provided by institutional resources, the films of Terence Davies reveal a highly original, audacious film-maker. Few contemporary figures match his ability or his interest in charting the dark recesses and haunts of the soul; fewer still do with such sincerity and compassion. Indeed, he is that rarity: a British, but never parochial, director who views cinema seriously and passionately, thus fulfilling the loftiest demands of art." - Geoff Andrew (The Film Handbook, 1989)
“He initially worked as an actor and novelist before joining the National Film School, where he made an extraordinary trio of short films that lyrically reflected the agony and the ecstasy of his life as a gay man and a Catholic. His best films have included fragments of autobiography, and he has also proved a sensitive director of literary adaptations.” - Chambers Film Factfinder, 2006
"Davies is an utterly personal lyric filmmaker who moves as swiftly as music from the lacerating to the ecstatic… It must be a large question where Davies goes beyond autobiography. But The Long Day Closes is a triumph of common experience. The Neon Bible seemed to me an enterprising failure, based on a novel by John Kennedy Toole, but The House of Mirth was a great film (dreadfully missed by public and critics alike) in which a thorough sense of literary values was driven home by Davies’s rare capacity for naked feelings.“ - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2010)
"I make films to come to terms with my family history... If there had been no suffering, there would have been no films." - Terence Davies
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) , The Long Day Closes (1992) , The House of Mirth (2000)
Recommended
The Terence Davies Trilogy (1984), The Neon Bible (1995), Of Time and the City (2008), The Deep Blue Sea (2011)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
Terence Davies / Favourite Films
Great Expectations (1946) David Lean, The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950) Frank Launder, Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) Robert Hamer, Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) Max Ophüls, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) Orson Welles, The Night of the Hunter (1955) Charles Laughton, The Searchers (1956) John Ford, Singin' in the Rain (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, Victim (1961) Basil Dearden, Young at Heart (1954) Gordon Douglas.
Source: Sight & Sound (2012)
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Of Time and the City
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