Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

The Long Day Closes

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on July 14, 2014 at 5:45 PM


Terence Davies




IDEA:  Bud, a lonely young boy growing up in Liverpool, seeks solace in family, daydreams, and, most importantly, the movies.

BLURB:  The Long Day Closes is a movie of memories, which is also to say it is a memory of movies, of life and time wedded inextricably to the hypnotic movement of film. Forgoing narrative for a mélange of exquisite, almost unspeakably beatific impressions, Davies crafts a vision of his childhood in mid-1950s Liverpool that breathes with the cinema’s uniquely oneiric language. Images billow and float and seep into one another; mellifluous tracking shots and painterly tableaux are synced in rhapsody with music and dialogue; everything appears to be recounted as much by a human mind as by the ethereal flickering of a movie projector. Most filmmakers might have mounted this film-drunk picture as pastiche, but Davies has something infinitely more profound in mind: less a quoting of classic cinema and song than a full-bodied absorption of them, an integration so seamless their entire histories seem to have been ingrained in the film’s fiber. The result is a movie of near celestial stature, one that manages to align and conflate the processes of cinema, memory, and dream to such a degree they feel divinely enmeshed. But Davies never lets us forget the transience of those processes, and by the time the last frames fade away from the screen, it feels as if a sacred experience has been inevitably curtailed. Somehow, that’s what makes it all the more miraculous.

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