Terence Davies

Director, Screenwriter, Actor
Davies is a singularly idiosyncratic, independent British filmmaker noted for his intensely personal autobiographical films ("Distant Voices, Still Lives," 1988; "The Long Day Closes," 1993) that effectively evoke the ... Read more »
Born: 11/10/1945 in Liverpool, England, GB

Filmography

Director (10)

Sunset Song 2016 (Movie)

(Director)

The Deep Blue Sea 2012 (Movie)

(Director)

Of Time and the City 2009 (Movie)

(Director)

The House of Mirth 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

The Neon Bible 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

The Long Day Closes 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Distant Voices, Still Lives 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

Death and Transfiguration 1982 (Movie)

(Director)

Madonna and Child 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Children 1975 (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (9)

Sunset Song 2016 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Deep Blue Sea 2012 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Of Time and the City 2009 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Neon Bible 1996 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Long Day Closes 1993 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Distant Voices, Still Lives 1989 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Death and Transfiguration 1982 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Madonna and Child 1979 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Children 1975 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Actor (4)

Of Time and the City 2009 (Movie)

(Narrator)

Father and Son 1991 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Derek Jarman: A Portrait 1990 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Ups & Downs 1981 (Movie)

(Actor)

Biography

Davies is a singularly idiosyncratic, independent British filmmaker noted for his intensely personal autobiographical films ("Distant Voices, Still Lives," 1988; "The Long Day Closes," 1993) that effectively evoke the sounds and textures of post-war working-class life in England's Liverpool. His recurring themes include memory and its close relationship to popular culture--particularly music and movies, the disjunction between bleak lives and glittering fantasies, the collision between the brutish masculine behavior of fathers and the terrified homosexual identity of their sons and the power struggles inherent in familial relations. Spare and austere, these low-budget yet surprisingly elegant films tend to be contemplative, deliberately paced and melancholy in tone; while certainly not for all tastes, they have been hailed as sublime works of art.

Relationships

Father
died of stomach cancer when Davies was seven, possibly caused by his drinking a bottle of Lysol disinfectant to avoid Army service

Mother
died at age 90 in 1997

Sibling
Davies was the youngest of 10 children only seven survived infancy

EDUCATION

Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Boys School

dropped out at age 15

National Film School

enrolled at age 32; teachers included Alexander Mackendrick

Coventry Drama School

Coventry 1972
enrolled at age 28

Milestones

2011

Directed Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston in "The Deep Blue Sea," a romantic drama he adapted from Terence Rattigan's play

2008

Directed and appeared in "Of Time and the City," a documentary about his birthplace Liverpool

2000

Adapted screenplay and directed film adaptation of romantic drama "The House of Mirth," starring Gillian Anderson

1995

Wrote and directed the screen version of John Kennedy Toole's novel "The Neon Bible"

1992

Helmed another autobiographical look at a Catholic family "The Long Day Closes"

1988

First feature (also first in color, first in 35mm), "Distant Voices, Still Lives"; film won 17 international prizes

1984

Wrote first novel <i>Hallelujah Now</i>

1984

Won acclaim with "The Terence Davies Trilogy" - a compilation of three shorts, "Children," "Madonna and Child," and "Death and Transfiguration"

1982

Feature film acting debut, "Ups & Downs"

1980

Admitted to the National Film School; began work on second film "Madonna and Child"

1976

"Children" produced by the British Film Institute (with Mamoun Hassan)

1973

Went to Coventry Drama School; completed first screenplay "Children"

1952

Attended his first movie "Singin' in the Rain"

Worked for 12 years as an accountant and bookkeeper

Left school and worked as a clerk in a shipping office

Attended Catholic secondary school until age 15

Joined Liverpool Writer's Club and became amateur actor; wrote work performed on radio

Bonus Trivia

.

Davies: "...That's the last bit of my autobiography. I shan't do anymore. I've said it all now. But I do think it's true, that if there hadn't been all that misery and suffering in my life and in my family's lives, there would have been nothing to write about. I suppose one is the product of one's background. I can't conceive of writing about something which is just simply happy. It's very difficult to write about that; I just don't think that way. But I don't want to do any more autobiography. I've done enough. I've been doing it for eighteen years, and it's an awfully long time." – "The Long Day Closes: An Interview with Terence Davies," Cineaste, Vol. XIX, Nos. 2-3

.

Davies: "There are some American actors I'd like to work with. I think that even BAD American actors are so much BETTER than English actors, because they always know what to do with their eyes! ...The drawback to American films for me, as an Englishman, is that so much of the time the acting, and indeed the films, are ruined by this dreadful sentimentality, where everyone cries all the time and tells each other that they love one another, and this is supposed to mean something. I DO find that kind of sentimentality really quite repellent. And the crashing music cues that tell you when to emote, that's another weakness. So I don't know what the new film will be, but I guarantee you it won't be like that! I'm after something altogether different." – "The Long Day Closes: An Interview with Terence Davies," Cineaste, Vol. XIX, Nos. 2-3

.

On growing up gay: "That was the hard because I was still a practicing Catholic. I prayed until my knees bled. I longed to be forgiven and I hadn't done anything. I do have to say, equally, that it has ruined my life because no one's ever been interested in me. I'm not good-looking. I don't have a good body. I'm very lonely. You get fed up with being on your own all the time; it kind of erodes you, and I do feel envious of gay men who are good-looking. I wish I didn't, but I do. I also wish I were very good-looking and really stupid because that is the unbeatable combination." – Davies quoted by Loren King in The Boston Globe, Jan. 14, 2001

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