Terence Davies born
Cinema's most celebrated Liverpudlian celebrates his 65th birthday today. Born November 10, 1945, Terence Davies has made a career out of the memory palace of his witty and poignantly regarded youth. Having grown up in a working class Catholic family, Davies mined his experiences at clerical jobs and as a gay man in three short films that became his critically-acclaimed work, The Terrence Davies Trilogy. In 1988, Davies made his first feature, Distant Voices, Still Lives, a two-part story of post-war British life and the children who grew up in the days before rock music revolutionized youth culture. He followed up that film with another period remembrance,1992's The Long Day Closes, and then, in 1995, adapted John Kennedy Toole's The Neon Bible. Another adaptation, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, followed in 2000. In 2008, Davies made Of Time and the City, a cinematic trip back in time to his childhood Liverpool. Mixing source music from the mid-1940s, archival footage and voiceover, the documentary, which was commissioned on the occasion of Liverpool's selection as Europe's cultural city of the year, was, as could be expected from Davies, an achingly personal work guided by memory. In an interview with Filmmaker Magazine, Davies said, "Memory is like smell. As soon as it’s pricked, it begins to work, and things that have lain dormant in you start to emerge. And memory, of course, is nonlinear. It’s completely cyclical and it’s completely disparate and elliptical. What you remember most intensely can be the tiniest things but they’re powerful for you because they have a whole emotional meaning beyond their surface meaning." The film received excellent reviews, with A.O. Scott writing in the New York Times, "To rescue some fragments of the English poetic tradition from academic oblivion might not have been Mr. Davies’s principal intention in making Of Time and the City. If it had been, the film would have been sour and didactic. Instead, it is a deeply personal piece of art that never descends into the confessional or the therapeutic, and a work of social and literary criticism that never lectures or hectors, but rather, with melancholy, tenderness and wit, manages to sing."