We are being gathered in, at gloaming

All I really knew about Of Time And The City is that it was Mark Kermode's favourite film of last year, and that in theory it sounded very dull. Various images of Liverpool, mostly in black and white, compiled like a slideshow, with some voiceover commentary from writer/director Terence Davies. No explosions, spacecrafts or Adamantium? No thanks!

But I gave it a shot, because the Good Doctor went to the same school as me, and I generally agree with his opinions. The film is definitely not for everyone, and that one sentence description above is not too far from the truth. And yet, there's a lot to admire in there, but you have to be okay with very slow pacing and long stretches of silence or Davies' beloved classical music. Also, you really have to hear the man's voice, it's majestic - like a more world-weary and rugged David Attenborough. He speaks so wistfully of times gone by, of an age when football wasn't venal - his word, not mine - and when hometown heroes the Beatles ruined popular music and fashion. "John, Paul, George and Ringo: they sounded like a firm of suburban solicitors". 

One sequence was particularly moving - a montage of images from the Korean War, interspersed with footage of the Queen's coronation in 1952, set to 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother'. Beautiful stuff. The insight into Davies' own life and youth is interesting too, but I was more keen on his broader opinions about the community and the way it isn't what it used to be. 

Like I said, Of Time and the City is not an easy film to enjoy, but if you seek it out, you'll get a warm fuzzy feeling from it, I hope. 


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