Of Time and the City Terence Davies

Of Time and the City Terence Davies
No man on earth is as pissed off as Terence Davies. Moments into this dirge-like docu-essay, he’s railing against his Liverpool Catholic upbringing, and the move out of the church into the street is no less spiked with fury.

His hometown is no panacea, simply the springboard for a blissful working-class youth ruptured by his dawning sense of homosexuality, immense poverty and the scuppering of the elegant pop culture he grew up with in the ’40s and ’50s.

The erosion of the economy and the rise of desultory public housing somehow run neck and neck with the menace of the Beatles, but this was never supposed to be methodical piece of social anthropology. Davies, whose autobiography is always front and centre in his work, has instead finally broken that fourth wall and addressed his lonely fury straight to the back of the auditorium.

As a long-time fan of the director, the film is at once dazzling and horrible: dazzling for its maker’s refusal to acknowledge the bullies who ruled his life, horrible for how much the struggle has cost him in self-esteem and isolation. Watching it is like listening to your best friend doubled up with rage on an incoherent rant: you want to comfort him but how?

Sorting out the social problems with the personal grudges is not easy with this movie and there are times you just want to get him drunk, find him a prostitute and hope things look better in the morning.

But in terms of undiluted expression of its creator’s sensibility, it’s pretty much without peer. And as awesomely unpleasant as it is it’s still pretty awesome. (Hurricane)