Remembrance of Liverpool Past (documentary)





IN “Of Time and the City,” a new documentary by Terence Davies, the city is his hometown, Liverpool, and the time, true to form for this most Proustian of filmmakers, is the past. “The golden moments pass and leave no trace,” Mr. Davies, who narrates the film, says at one point, quoting Chekhov. But his backward-glancing movies are proof to the contrary. They consist almost entirely of traces, constellations of hallowed people and places recalled with an intensity that verges on the religious.

“Of Time and the City,” which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last year, opens at Film Forum in Manhattan on Jan. 21 and will be featured in a short retrospective of Mr. Davies’s work at the Museum of Modern Art this week. The film ends a long period in the wilderness for this less-than-prolific director, who had not made a movie since “The House of Mirth” in 2000, and signals a return to the autobiographical terrain of his early work. Born in 1945, the youngest of 10 children in a working-class Catholic household, Mr. Davies has spent much of his career chronicling his formative joys and traumas, lingering mournfully on a boyhood defined by his love of Hollywood classics and old pop songs, and his struggles with faith and homosexuality.


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