Of Time And The City details
Of Time And The City
|Run time:||1 hour 12 minutes|
|Rental release:||30 Mar 2009|
Most helpful review
SCOUSE AND BARM FOR THE SOULBy hunkydomste (48 reviews) from Liverpool , 11 Nov 2008
[Highly rated reviewer]Let's face it: If you're not a fan of Liverpool or have no affinity with it this will probably leave you as cold as the Merseyside waterfront at Albert Dock on any but a sunny day. This Belgium born, German raised, Britain travelled reviewer however has found a bit of a resting place in Liverpool- and as someone who loves the rough, caught between cosmopolitan and time old charme of the Mersey metropol, I thoroughly enjoyed Terence Davies' latest offering.
Of Time And The City is not a documentary as such. It uses images old and new, mixes nostalgia with sneer, hope with defeatism and is both a loveletter as well as a eulogy to Liverpool. Davies' narration starts off solemnly, but don't despair. The tone lightens up, often subtly, occasionally straightforwardly brazen, the themes ranging from first young male lust (over other males) to family values, royalty, decay and destruction to the here and now, future and faith. The soundtrack choices are sublime, Davies utilizes the Hollies comfortably next to Handel and beat club scenes ironically are not backed up by the Beatles but mainly Bruckner.
An arthouse delight that on the surface seems to be a non-crowd pleaser, yet received heaps of praise at Cannes. The city is Liverpool, but the message is more global- there is no place like home, and its heart stays the same, no matter how many layers of skin it sheds.
A HEART-WARMING, BITTERSWEET DELIGHT.
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Thoughtful and engrossing, bitter but not twisted.By manowar from Wirral, Merseyside , 31 Mar 2012I'm not from Liverpool, Scots actually, but have lived alongside it for forty years and it is one of the most fascinating cities architecturally, politically, socially and historically that one can come across. Even today its image and the mere mention of the name Liverpool can split the UK into two opposing factions. It has provided this country with some of the best (and some of the worst!) politicians, singers,poets, musicians, writers, statesmen, sportsmen and women, comedians, medicos, actors...you name it! It also had the blight of some of the worst housing, past and modern. It's had to put up with the blinkered meddling of inner-city planners since the fifties trying to rip the heart out of this jewel of a city. Fortunately some 'good men and true' had the vision and foresight from the 70's onwards to put the brakes on some of the excesses. But unforgivably, those inner-city planners took Scottie Road to the knackers yard instead of putting it out to stud.
Terence Davies casts a weary and at times tearful eye over the broad expanse of the city that shaped him. His homosexuality and the trauma that his deep catholic upbringing imposed on him made him a cynic. But that is not a bad thing. Cynicism is part of all of us and Davies imbibes his cynicism with mistrust and love and affection for a city that is in his marrow. Like the Scots, all true Liverpudlians, where e're they travel, are products of their upbringing and are never ashamed to admit it.
Watch this film with the sound off and it merely becomes a travelogue of the best and worst of this place. Watch and listen to Davies's commentary though, and the film takes on a vibrancy that fairly pulsates. Liverpool, through this film, becomes a city that breeds high blood pressure. For every beautiful building there is a slum, for every shopping mall there is a 'Bluecoat Chambers', for every wino begging on the subway there is a wisecracking Scouser trying to sell you something on the open-air markets, for every tragedy there is a joyous moment, for every factory that closes there is an entrepreneur starting up.
This polyglot of a city breathes..and it breathes life into its people. Walk down some of the old original cobbled alleys off Dale Street or Whitechapel (how did the planners miss them!!) and you can hear this city despairingly whisper into your ear..'Don't forget me!'
Davies captures the city and its contradictions and does it beautifully through his careful choice of film and especially through his words.
For him it's a love affair and like all such things there is hurt, despair, complacency, anger and moments of pure joy. He can hate his city with a vengeance but it flows through his veins. He knows it and he knows he'll never escape from it.
This is HIS Valentines card to HIS city and he has signed his name on it.
For the rest of us, this is Liverpool drawn on a wide canvas but in such sharp detail that it needs more than one viewing.
understated but not undemandingBy a customer , 03 Feb 2012Terence Davies is very much a square peg in the round hole of modern cinema. Without the slightest trace of arrogance he chooses not to play any game but his own, so when he makes a film about his home city you can guarantee it will be on his own terms. So - no eulogies to The Beatles or Liverpool FC, rather a celebration of its people (specifically the women) and of its spirit. The narration may strike some as overly ornate (although not when considering the monarchy or 12th of July!), but the passion certainly can't be doubted. Davies is unique and special to our culture - willfully not of it, but helping to inform and enrich it. This film is another valuable contribution.
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Excellently craftedBy a customer , 10 Oct 2011This is a terrific documentary film, I loved it. Don't expect a complete overview of the history of Liverpool - it's not supposed to be that and it's better this way because it's personal and therefore more interesting. It's at times moving and at times hilarious. A further excellent dimension is the music is wondefully well-chosen. I also found it has an addictive quality - I watched it 6 or 7 times before sending the disk back. I rented the Terence Davies Trilogy afterwards, which is also very well worth watching.
Liverpool through the yearsBy Zamy (552 reviews) from London , 05 Sep 2011This is an interesting look at Liverpool over the last 60 years or so with a personal commentary by Terence Davies. It has the flavour of the 1930 film essays like Night Mail put out by the GPO Film Unit. Less a documentary, more a poetic film essay. So, among other things, Terence tells us that he disapproves of the monarchy and apparently does not favour Liverpools most famous ambassadors, the Beatles. Never mind, this is a fine film and has wider appeal than Liverpudlians of a certain age.
Less a documentary, more a love poemBy JafOne (6 reviews) , 13 Aug 2011Anyone wanting to see a documentary of Liverpool is going to be disappointed. This is a eulogy to the Liverpool that was, and a lament of what it later became. It's the very personal viewpoint of Terence Davies (for example the Beatles brief contribution here is the cause for the adolescent Davies to turn his back on pop and embrace Mahler instead).
The soundtrack dominates. At times you could close your eyes and it'd be some radio 3 artwork. For the most part images are chosen as a montage for the selected poetry and music. Where the documentary footage has sound, often it plays under the soundtrack rather than vice versa. For example, a sequence of children singing in the playground becomes difficult to decipher because of the choral work playing over it.
So if you appreciate the art and poetry selection of Terence Davies then this has much to commend it. If you're from Liverpool (I'm not) you may enjoy the generally excellent selection of historical images. However for me personally I was a little disappointed. It made me think more of Koyaanisqatsi than the more traditional documentary I'd been expecting.