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Terence Davies

Terence Davies

Michael Koresky
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Terence Davies
    Book Description:

    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' 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' 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' work and his unfashionable ambivalence toward his own sexual orientation.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09654-9
    Subjects: History, Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Bathed in the Fading Light
    (pp. 1-124)

    The cinema of the British director Terence Davies is one of contradictions—between beauty and ugliness, the real and the artificial, progression and tradition, motion and stasis. These opposites reflect a certain struggle, for the filmmaker and his characters, to make sense of a confusing and sometimes violent world. For Davies, this struggle constitutes a reckoning with his past, a highly personal account of a fractured childhood; for the viewer it has resulted in one of the richest, most idiosyncratic, and arrestingly experimental bodies of work put out by a narrative filmmaker. This struggle is particularly acute because Davies, a...

  5. Interview with Terence Davies
    (pp. 125-146)
    Terence Davies and Michael Koresky

    The following conversation took place at Terence Davies’s home in Mistley, Essex, on October 16, 2012.

    MICHAEL KORESKY: I wanted to start by talking about T. S. Eliot’sThe Four Quartets.You’ve said it’s the most influential piece of writing for you. One of its most haunting passages states, “Do not let me hear of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly / Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession.” I’d like to hear how you feel about the poem now that you’re older.

    TERENCE DAVIES: I read them once a month, because...

  6. Filmography
    (pp. 147-152)
  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 153-158)
  8. Index
    (pp. 159-164)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 165-172)