Set in 1940s England Distant Voices Still Lives is a compassionate look at a radically dysfunctional family. The son and his mother must endure the casual and overt cruelties of the bull-necked father. The ongoing abuse takes its toll in the form of failed marriages and misguided attempts at seeking security outside the family unit. As was the case with his earlier short subject trilogy director Terence Davies based much of the material on his own life combining rheumy-eyed cynicism with soft-edged nostalgia.
'Distant Voices, Still Lives' revolves around the memories of a British working class family and is in fact two films that were shot two years apart although in this DVD presentation they flow together in such a way that is is next to impossible to notice the join. The first film, 'Distant Voices', features the Blitz and centres around the families' recollections of their terrifyingly violent father, while the second film, 'Still Lives', delves into the family conscience in the period following the father's death. The film is a poignant autobiography of director Terrence Davies' own family although perhaps with slightly more musical numbers than might have existed in reality. Pete Postlethwaite is excellent as the turbulent and occasionally tender father while Freda Dowie excells as his stoic wife who really comes into her own during the 'Still Lives' segment. The film does not feature a plot in the traditional sense but is rather comprised of a series of fractured memories and recollections. While certainly distressing in places, 'Distant Voices, Still Lives' is a touching narrative on familial disfunction with enough warmth and humanity to make watching it a thoroughly uplifting experience.
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES A film by Terence Davies Winner of the International Critics' Prize, Cannes 1988. Terence Davies's stunning debut feature film Distant Voices, Still Lives was instantly recognised as a masterpiece on its release in 1988 and the director hailed as one of Britain's most gifted and remarkable filmmakers. Re-released in April 2007 as part of a complete retrospective season of Terence Davies's films at BFI Southbank, it was once again showered with critical acclaim. The BFI now makes the film available on DVD for the first time, presented in a beautiful new digital restoration - a fitting showcase for this unforgettable film from one of contemporary cinema's true poets. Drawn from his own family memories, Distant Voices, Still Lives is a strikingly intimate portrait of working class life in 1940s and 1950s Liverpool. Focusing on the real-life experiences of his mother, sisters and brother whose lives are thwarted by their brutal, sadistic father (a chilling performance by Pete Postlethwaite), the film shows us beauty and terror in equal measure. Davies uses the traditional family gatherings of births, marriages and deaths to paint a lyrical portrait of family life - of love, grief, and the highs and lows of being human, a 'poetry of the everyday' that is at once deeply autobiographical and universally resonant. Extra Features: Feature commentary by director Terence Davies Filmed interview with Terence Davies Filmed introduction with Art Director Miki van Zwanenberg Original trailer Fully illustrated booklet UK | 1988 | colour | Optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 80 minutes | 1.78:1 (16x9 anamorphic) | Region 2 DVD
Terence Davies directs this autobiographical portrait of working class family life in post-war Liverpool. Told in flashback and set to an evocative soundtrack, the film explores the emotional fallout of a family dominated by an overtly cruel father (Pete Postlethwaite) and follows the repercussions, including failed marriages, that the relentless abuse visits on the various family members as they attempt to lead a life away from the family unit.