ABOUT TERENCE


Photograph: James Dowling, 2022 | Terence watching Distant Voices, Still Lives at The Still Lives Film Festival, Ireland


Le Centre Pompidou: Terence Davies - Le tempe retrouvé (1-17 March 2024)
The first postumous complete retrospective of Terence's work was held at Centre Pompidou in Paris earlier in 2024. Material including video tributes and introductions are available here on the Pompidou website, including Jonathan Coe's essay on Terence commissioned by Centre Pompidou

Book's length studies of the films of Terence Davies:

Terence Davies has made some of the most innovative, harrowing, and hauntingly lyrical films of the contemporary era. This is the first ever book-length study of his work, combining detailed analysis of all his films with a persuasive and stimulating investigation of key filmic issues of time and memory, identity and selfhood, and the nature of literary adaptation, as well as a previously unpublished interview with Davies himself. 

The book demonstrates that Davies's films successfully subvert traditional division between 'popular' culture and 'art-house' cinema. Gardner explores not only Davies's debt to social realism, the British Documentary movement, and Ealing comedies, but equally to the European auteur tradition and to the great Hollywood musicals and melodramas that continue to inspire him. It provides fresh insight into the centrality of music in Davies's work, and into his conviction that film itself is closer to music than to any other art form.

Called the most important British filmmaker of his generation, Terence Davies made his reputation with modern classics like Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes, personal works exploring his fractured childhood in Liverpool. His idiosyncratic and unorthodox narrative films defy easy categorization, as their seeming existence within realism and personal memory cinema is undermined by an abstractness that makes the way he lays bare personal pain come across as distant, even alien.

Film critic Michael Koresky explores the unique emotional tenor of Davies's work by focusing on four paradoxes within the director's oeuvre: films that are autobiographical yet fictional; melancholy yet elating; conservative in tone and theme yet radically constructed; and obsessed with the passing of time yet frozen in time and space. Through these contradictions, the films' intricate designs reveal a cumulative, deeply personal meditation on the self. Koresky also analyzes how Davies's ongoing negotiation of--and struggle with--questions of identity related to his past and his homosexuality imbue the details and jarring juxtapositions in his films with a queer sensibility, which is too often overlooked due to the complexity of Davies's work and his unfashionable ambivalence toward his own sexual orientation.

The Guardian - Terence Davies: A Life in Pictures (7 October 2023)