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Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) - movie overview

Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

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Plot Description

Release Date
Jul 28, 1989 (USA)

MPAA Rating

Running Time
1 hour, 25 minutes

Country UK

Studio Avenue Entertainment, British Film Institute, Film Four International

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Other Titles
• Distant Voices, Still Lives

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Genre: Drama, Biography, World War II, Marriage

Plot: The second film in Terence Daviesís autobiographical series (TRILOGY, THE LONG DAY CLOSES) is an impressionistic view of a working-class family in 1940s and 1950s Liverpool, based on Daviesís own family. The first part, DISTANT VOICES, opens with grown siblings Eileen (Angela Walsh), Maisie (Lorraine Ashbourne) and Tony (Dean Williams), and their mother (Freda Dowie) arranged in mourning clothes before the photograph of their smiling father (Pete Postlethwaite). Soon after, the family poses in a similar tableau, but for a happier occasion Ė Eileenís wedding. While relatives sing at her reception, Eileen hysterically grieves for her dad, and recalls happy times of her youth. Tony and Maisieís memories, however, are more troubled. Davies intermingles and contrasts scenes like the family peacefully lighting candles in church with the brutal man beating his wife and terrorizing his young children. In STILL LIVES, set (and filmed) two years later, the siblings are settled in life, but not all happily. For Eileen, relief from her drab existence comes only when singing at the pub. With his skillfully composed frames and evocative use of music in place of dialogue, Davies creates a lovely, affecting photo album of a troubled family wrestling with the complexity of love.

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 Directed by
Terence Davies
The House of Mirth, The Long Day Closes, The Neon Bible
 Written by
Terence Davies
The House of Mirth, The Long Day Closes, The Neon Bible
Pete Postlethwaite
The Usual Suspects, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Romeo + Juliet
Lorraine Ashbourne
Fever Pitch, Jack and Sarah, A Christmas Carol
Jean Boht
The Girl in a Swing, The Asylum, Mothers and Daughters
Carl Chase
The Mummy, Batman, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Chris Darwin
Liam, Let Him Have It
 Music By

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