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Closely Watched Films: Terence Davies

Friday, February 22, 2008
7:00 p.m. The Long Day Closes
Terence Davies (U.K., 1992)

Terence Davies in Person

“The music of the years gone by”: with Nat “King” Cole singing “Stardust” while the camera slowly moves past tattered movie posters and down a dim studio street, Davies ushers us gently, lovingly into another world. This is a land of music and shadows and light, also known as 1956 Liverpool, where an eleven-year-old boy gazes through windows and dreams of pictures. The Long Day Closes maps some of the same autobiographical terrain as Davies’s earlier films (although here the family is a happy nest of feminine warmth, without a father’s troubling presence). But the subject of the film is not so much the events of a life as the drama of consciousness. Tableaux flow one into another, theater, church, and schoolroom all part of the same interior landscape. Tracking the passage of time with sun crossing a battered carpet, making the moon gleam through clouds like a projector beam through cigarette smoke, Davies unites the textures of cinema with those of memory.

—Juliet Clark

• Written by Davies. Photographed by Michael Coulter. With Marjorie Yates, Leigh McCormack, Anthony Watson, Nicholas Lamont. (85 mins, Color, 35mm, From British Film Institute, permission Park Circus Limited)