The Terence Davies Trilogy

David Thomson is the author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film; The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood; Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles; and, most recently, Nicole Kidman.

These three short films made over a period of eight years recount the life of one Liverpool man, the fictional Robert Tucker, who has much in common with Davies himself. Children deals with Tucker's torments and sexual awakening at a religious-run school, and the home life that will become a Davies trademark: cruel father, stunned mother, relief when the coins are finally put on the father's eyes and life is as it should be. Madonna and Child depicts Tucker in his thirties, by day a dutiful son and conscientious worker, by night a religious seeker of anonymous homosexual adventures. In moments of transition-on the ferry, in the file room-he weeps for the disjunction that is his life. Death and Transfiguration: the title should be reversed, for now Tucker is unrecognizably old, and in his mind, the past is present. Here Davies captures an idea that is hinted at even in Children: we are redeemed by all that we remain. Shot by William Diver in stark black-and-white, the Trilogy is elegiac in its misery, devoted in its excommunication, heartbreaking and rigorously unsentimental.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.