Terence Davies is a film maker largely unknown in much of America. His brand of visual art house is not shall we say ‘box office’ but is visually stunning. This is particular true of his work set in his native Liverpool, a city I also spent many formative years in. Perhaps his most beloved work from this period is ‘The Long Day Closes’ which was recently shown at The Metrograph cinema in New York. Terence Davies was there in person to answer questions from the audience, which he did with considerable intelligence and humor.
As for the film ‘The Long Day Closes’ made in 1992 it is as amazing as ever. An autobiographical work, which deals with growing up gay in a working class Liverpudlian community, it is full of beauty, pain and love of the cinema which takes on an almost religious fervor.
Even though it is set in the 1950’s it doesn’t have that mannered overly dressed feel of a period piece film. Instead there is a sense of loving detail that tries hard to capture the feeling of the era, right down to the casting and performances which always feel true to life and never over-played.
At 82 minutes long it never out stays its welcome and its use of music from Kathleen Ferrier to jazz standards is evocative and moving.
In fact, ‘The Long Day Closes’ has the feel of an alt musical from the impromptu singalongs the Davies family engage in right down to the extreme ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ style downpours that feature throughout.
In conclusion, a thoroughly singular piece of work that deserves the praise often lavished on it.