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Terence Davies, Director of ‘Distant Voices’ & ‘Still Lives’, Passes Away at the Age of 77

Terence Davies, a much-revered British writer and director who made his international art-house breakthrough with two autobiographical films set in his native Liverpool, England, Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes, has passed away at the age of 77.

How did Terence Davies pass away?

Source:  Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images for BFI

Much of Davies’ work is imbued with his real-life emotional experiences, musing on growing up as a gay, Catholic man in Liverpool in the 1950s and 1960s in subtle ways. In his 2008 feature documentary, Of Time and the City, the filmmaker tackled his youth honestly. Davies died quietly at home following a brief illness, according to his official Instagram account. The announcement also featured this text: “Pulvis et Umbra Sumus – “We are but dust and shadows” (Horace)” along with, ” “And if thou wilt, remember, And if thou wilt, forget.” (Christina Rossetti)”

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Terence Davies, who died peacefully at home after a short illness, today on 7th October 2023.”

Terence Davies’ Instagram account
Source: Sky News

What are some of Terence Davies’ cinematic achievements?

After leaving school at the age of 16, the director attended Coventry Drama School for ten years. While he was a student there, he penned the screenplay for the autobiographical short Children which is the first in a trilogy that reflected on his early childhood, his days as a young office clerk in Liverpool, and his eventual death. Apart from Of Time and the City, it took him 11 years following The House of Mirth to make his next film.

That was a slow-burn adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea, which portrayed the boiling undercurrents beneath the British playwright’s work’s surfaces. Davies went on to make the intimate drama Sunset Song in 2015, a project that took 18 years to fund. The next year, he directed A Quiet Passion, a fine-grained biographical picture starring Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson. After another five years, Davies’ final picture, Benediction, was released in 2021.

Source: Ethan Hill / YM Liverpool