Distant Voices, Still Lives


Action / Drama / Music

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Kenneth Williams Photo
Kenneth Williams as Himself - Character on Beyond Our Ken
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
745.65 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 24 min
P/S 0 / 3
1.37 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 24 min
P/S 0 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mjneu597 / 10

easier to appreciate than enjoy

Terrance Davies' two-part nostalgia exercise is, depending on your tolerance for unembellished honesty, either a sentimental trip down memory lane or a cold-eyed wallow in drab English monotony. The British writer director went to great lengths to re-create a facsimile of working class family life circa 1940-1950, and his meticulous attention to detail sets an almost too perfect mood: the film is both painfully realistic and totally depressing. Using a fragmented, hopscotch style approximating the actual process of memory itself, Davies mixes bits and pieces of autobiographical detail to show how cultural traditions have a way of repeating themselves for a typical Liverpool family, held together by stifling blue collar conditions and a good deal of recreational singing (38 period songs are featured on the soundtrack). The snapshot style doesn't allow for any dramatic momentum, but the film is constructed more as a sampling of brief, transient moments, and is extremely well crafted and emotional despite the often oppressive melancholy.

Reviewed by mark.waltz7 / 10

This is how the tough survive.

Not much to love in this fortunately short look at the life of a family told over the course of two decades, starting with the hardworking but troubled patriarch Pete Postlethwaite in the first half. Obviously dealing with severe depression that leads to mental illness and abusive traits, towards wife Freda Dowie, son Dean Willians and daughter Angela Walsh, he has bursts of temper that are frightening and out of control. Then there's the aftermath of his demise as the issues of widow Dowie and the grown adult children which hasn't changed them much outside the changes in music that brings them together for regular sing-a-longs

Reminding me of the series of new wave British dramas of the 1960's, this is a powerful drama about issues of the working class that don't change much between World War II and the following decade. Excellent performances all around are helpful in keeping the audience engaged, with the pop-ins of various neighbors, partucuparky Walsh's pal Pauline Quirke and the children's own offspring. Music works not only to represent the passage of time, but the passing on it generations. It's quite touching but often very sad and depressing at times. While this represents a typical working class British family, it could be any family of any race and class, and thus a relatable and unforgettable drama.

Reviewed by Prismark107 / 10

Happy Families

Then film composes its scenes like an impressionistic painting but also like a vintage photo that moves and draws you into it.

In the present day with digital film and Photoshop such effects are common but back in 1988 this required skill from the director, editor and the cinematographer.

Distant Voices, Still Lives are effectively two related short films spliced together.

The first half set during the 1940s is the effect on a family of a tyrannical, brutish father who haunts them even after their death.

The second half takes place in the 1950s with the characters getting married and yet for the women, some of them are never far away from the brutish life of their youth as the men they married might still be prone to violence.

You see the family at weddings, funerals, christening and at the pub. Like Dennis Potter dramas. Music and songs are used to reflect the mood and move the drama along.

Not all songs would be known to the modern ear. Just like some of the drinks the characters order in the pub, the songs they sing belong to another time.

Maybe the singing is too good, I doubt in reality families sung that well in the pub. Debi Jones carries off the difficult songs well, the cast are uniformly good.

Pete Postlethwaite dominates the film even though he is not there for the latter part of the film. Also notice the more cordial relationship he has with his youngest daughter in contrast with his other children.

It is an art house film, it may not suit everyone especially given the number of songs but its is an important British film of the 1980s.

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