THE TERENCE DAVIES TRILOGY
Children (1976, 44 mins) | Madonna and Child (1980, 26 mins) | Death and Transfiguration (1983, 24 mins)
Films by Terence Davies
Before Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes confirmed his status as one of the cinematic masters of our day, these three short early films by Terence Davies reveal a filmmaker of great early promise.
In stark black and white, Davies excavates the life of his fictional alter ego, Robert Tucker, in a narrative that slips like a shuffled pack of cards between childhood, middle age and death, shaping the raw materials of his own life into a rich tapestry of experiences and impressions.
Over the course of these films, we witness the emergence of Davies singular talent, the refinement of his technique and a director, growing in confidence, soon to become fêted as British cinema's greatest film poet.
- Full feature commentary by Terence Davies
- Filmed interview with Terence Davies
- Fully illustrated booklet including essay by Derek Jarman
- Fully uncompressed PCM stereo audio
UK | 1976 -1983 | black & white | English language with hard-of-hearing subtitles | 94 minutes | DVD-9 | Ratio 1.33:1 | Region 2 DVD
British writer-director Terence Davies's (DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES) earliest films, shown together as a trilogy, are interwoven semi-autobiographical short films about one man's painful conflict between his homosexuality and religion. CHILDREN (1976) introduces Robert Tucker (played by several different actors in the films), a hangdog child beaten into silence by corporeal and emotional punishment from bullies, Catholic schoolteachers, and a violent father. Austere black and white images from Tucker's childhood are interlaced with incidents from his equally alienated young adulthood, which is defined by his dawning homosexuality. In MADONNA AND CHILD (1980), Tucker is a hollow-eyed, middle-aged Liverpool office worker living with his beloved elderly mother. Beneath his bland exterior, Tucker is ravaged by guilt over his sexuality and inability to find solace in the Church. Davies artfully juxtaposes religious imagery and music with scenes from Tucker's increasingly sadomasochistic sex life. In the closing DEATH AND TRANSFIGURATION (1983), Tucker is a decrepit old man in a hospital bed, robbed of speech by a stroke – but still haunted by images from his troubled life. Davies skilfully merges time and different styles of evocative music to create a dreamlike, moving vision of one man's isolation, repression, and grief.
Note, the audio is an uncompressed Linear PCM track. This has the unfortunate side-effect of picking up some sound-editing defects in Children
but pays dividends in the latter two parts.