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‘Distant Voices, Still Lives’ Director Was 77 – The Hollywood Reporter

Terence Davies, the respected British director behind autobiographical films like Distant Voices, Still Lives, The Deep Blue Sea and The Long Day Closes has died. He was 77.

Davies’ official Instagram confirmed the news on Saturday morning, noting he died peacefully at home after a short illness.

A lot of his work is infused with personal emotional experience, often exploring homosexuality and his life growing up as a gay man and a Catholic in Liverpool, England, through fiction. But the director also directly addressed his childhood in his 2008 documentary, Of Time and the City.

The doc, which premiered at Cannes Film Festival that year, recalled his childhood in the 1950s and 1960s, using archival footage, his own commentary voiceover and classical musical tracks, to put together a project that received rave reviews.

Davies spoke to The Hollywood Reporter at the time about the emotional process that went into the film and how he struggled to balance his faith with his sexuality.

“I went back to my parish church during the filmmaking,” he told THR. “I once prayed to be forgiven until my knees bled, and I hadn’t done anything. You can’t shake it, the guilt. You are ipso facto a sinner because you have original sin in your soul. It is wrong.”

In his review of Davies’ last film, Benediction (2021), THR‘s chief film critic David Rooney sang the director’s praises when referring to his earlier body of work.

“Davies set the bar so high for himself with the unique films that put him on the map starting in the late ’80s,” he wrote, “two exquisitely personal family dramas set in his native Liverpool, Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes; the wonderful documentary about his hometown, Of Time and the City; and one of the finest film adaptations of Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth.”