Sunday, January 10, 2010

Family Britain/Of Time and The City

Having just romped through David Kynaston's 700 page Family Britain, and being somewhat preoccupied with postwar social conditioning (mine own included), it was just the right time to rewatch Terence Davies' Of Time and the City, which I saw last year at Film Forum. It's an autobiographical collage of Davies' early life in Liverpool: using documentary footage & a mixed musical soundtrack, Davies explores the working class culture of the city, & the evolution & dissolution of his faith. Some of the scenes are astoundingly beautiful - check in at around minute nineteen when the scene draws away from a steep terraced street and then shows a medley of shots of children playing in the schoolyard, women toiling at the washhouses, and a solitary child lost in his own thoughts on a front doorstep. As in Kynaston's book, Davies pays attention to the destruction of postwar housing stock and the rise of bleak, community eroding, tower blocks. The film is well worth seeing, but at times Davies' narrative is overly mannered. It would have been better if at times he'd allowed his choices of image and melody to speak for him.