…and now i am an alien in my own land
One day, a couple of weeks ago, anxious, shut-in and tired of reading, I went to the movies in the middle of the day. Film forum was my theater of choice. It was the opening day for “Of time and the city,” Terence Davies’ new film.
It was a dreamy experience, not least of all because I was in a movie theater at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and discovered a whole other world of daytime art-film-goers: people who hacked and coughed constantly, and hissed “Quiet!” at the least sound of popcorn crackling; people who wheezed and snored softly; people who grimaced at the thought that someone might try to share their row.
The movie was composed almost entirely of archival footage of Davies’ hometown, Liverpool, in the years of his childhood and young adulthood. Elements of the film are simply the archival footage, the sound of the director’s voice, and the music. Sound like documentary? It’s not. It’s better.
To listen to Terence Davies talk about his archival practice,
I said, when we were cutting it, ‘cut it like fiction.’ And then it has a subtext, that’s an emotional subtext, which people either get or they don’t, they like it or they don’t, but cut it as fiction. And then, then, it becomes ellipses, and that is really exciting because it’s not: ‘this happened, that happened, this happened.’ It doesn’t become that. It becomes an emotional journey, and real– The difference between film and television is, in film you go on a journey; in television they tell you where you’re going.