Of Time and the City
Autumn 2009 Documentary series
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 7:00pm
Directed by Terence Davies
Screenplay by Terence Davies
Rated PG ·
Of Time and the City is a landmark ode to a hometown, the city of Liverpool, by master filmmaker Terence Davies ( Distant Voices, Still Lives ; House of Mirth ). Blending Davies’s keen sense of social history with a touch of nostalgia, the film offers a captivating portrait of the city and its formidable inhabitants.
Commissioned by the city of Liverpool as part of the celebrations surrounding its designation as the European Capital of Culture 2008, Of Time and the City is filled with poetry and insight. Davies’s arresting images and wry narration poignantly tell the story of a city where churches have become discotheques, the promenades have emptied and the architecture of heavy Victorian industry has given way to modern loft living. He surveys the less desperate citizens of today and wonders where the spirit of community might have gone – and finds some answers through the prism of industrial decline.
Davies eschews the well-known men cast in statues in favour of the enormous, convulsive changes wrought on the working classes. He recalls a time of great poverty and camaraderie, when the cinemas were the only palaces his family and friends could actually enter. He remembers scandalous priests and corrupt officials who were never punished, while lonely men in the city’s various parks were tossed in jail for a wink and a nod.
Of Time and the City’s evocative mixture of archival footage and newly shot material, along with Davies’s amusing reminiscences about his own experiences of and relationship to Liverpool, completes a unique and inspiring work. It is personal, universal in its relevance, and gloriously cinematic.