Distant Voices, Still Lives Blu Ray review

Terence Davies stunning film creates a personal and passionate life story. Taking in the world of late 1940s and 50s Liverpool and based on his Davies own family life. From his death, marriages and life going slowly on. The film counterpoises photo framing, tracking shots and parties with songs taken from modern and classical music. At once beautiful, lyrical and deeply emotional.

I love Terence Davies work. It can sometimes feel paradoxical, it can sometimes feel like it is a Hollywood movie wrapped into a British soap opera. Captured with stunning use of space and frame, Davies seemed to imbibe a time and a narrative with ease. The essence of the period and its people, though drawn from his family, it feels so real. Yet it also feels unreal. This connection to  verisimilitude / Non verisimilitude heightens everything. We are engaged in a push and pull of life and times. We are also seeing it haunt the audience and the creator, like a dream with which he can only watch events unfold. Magical and masterful, it is always awe inducing to watch.

The 4K looks utter unbelievable. If ever a film were destined to show off the magic of 4K, well this was it. Comparing it to the DVD, you can see those interior scenes have texture in the wall paper, the pub lights glow orange and not white. The dresses are coloured not blocks of colour. Then you have the wonderful tracking shots inside the house, which had grain in the DVD, now utterly stunning.

The best additional extras are the Q and A (which is new), Davies reveals more about the film creation and his method of translating the personal. The Images of Liverpool are a wonderful document of the life and the place. Then the booklet, which features Derek Malcolm, a new piece that must not be missed.

• Q&A With Terence Davies (2018, 32 mins): recorded after the UK premiere of the new restoration at BFI Southbank
• Audio commentary by Terence Davies: the director scrutinises his film in this commentary from 2007
• Interview with Terence Davies (2007, 20 mins): director Terence Davies discusses his work with film critic Geoff Andrew
• Interview with Miki van Zwanenberg (2007, 7 mins): the film’s art director looks back on its making
• Introduction by Mark Kermode (2016, 2 mins)
• Images of Liverpool in Archive Film (1939-42, 62 mins): three archive shorts depicting the city of Liverpool and its community
• Original and 2018 trailers
• Image gallery
• Fully illustrated booklet with new writing on the film by Derek Malcolm and art director Miki van Zwanenberg, essays by Geoff Andrew and Adrian Danks, and full film credits




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