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With: Pete Postlethwaite, Freda Dowie, Lorraine Ashbourne, Angela Walsh, Dean Williams, Jean Boht, Michael Starke, Andrew Schofield, Debi Jones, Chris Darwin, Vincent Maguire, Pauline Quirke, Toni Mallen
Written by: Terence Davies
Directed by: Terence Davies
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 85
Date: 09/11/1988

Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Memories and Songs

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This forgotten gem from the 1980s gets a Blu-ray release at long last. A feature directing debut by the acclaimed English filmmaker Terence Davies, Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) is a two-parter (part one is "Distant Voices" and part two is "Still Lives"). Both parts tells the story of a family living in Liverpool during the 1940s and 1950s, with their trials and tribulations, weddings and funerals. Pete Postlethwaite plays the father, sometimes tender, but frequently cruel, although not everything is grim and depressing here. Davies uses popular music and the concept of memory to tell his story, deliberately allowing artificiality and staginess in his scenes, but always in a way that flows softly and lyrically. It's a beautifully poetic movie, and a small masterpiece.

Arrow Academy's gorgeous 2018 Blu-ray release includes a director's commentary track, a Q&A with the director, an interview with the director, an introduction by Mark Kermode, an image gallery, vintage documentaries about Liverpool, and trailers.

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