Terence Davies: Of time and the City/on Narration

I can´t help thinking about this new film by Terence Davies, a masterpiece, I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago. October 28 the Guardian had an excellent interview with him. A constant flow of wise words on filmmaking. Here is a clip. Interviewer was Jason Wood:

JW: The film shows you a Liverpool beyond The Beatles and football, which is what people tend to think about when they think about the city. Your narration is very significant. It lends character because it is so impassioned.

TD: What was odd was that I was writing this commentary as I was doing it and recording it as a rough guide. We got someone to do part of the narration but it just didn’t work and the producers said, “No, you must do it.” I was worried that when you hear your own voice it can sound a bit like the Queen Mother after she died. I said, “Are you sure?” We recorded it in a day. I do feel impassioned about it. One thing I did notice was my breath control is such that I would become terribly asthmatic. I’m very conscious of that. It’s strange because you can’t hear yourself and it is always a shock to hear yourself. Do I really sound like that? All my films have strong Liverpool accents. It always makes me feel a bit embarrassed because I wonder where it came from? At one point they asked me to put in how I lost my accent and I said, “You can’t be serious? You really can’t be serious? I’m not doing that.” I was worried and I was staying with my sister Maisie and I said, “When did I lose my accent?” and she said, “You never had one.” What was wonderful is that part of the narration would come when I would see something that I thought was odd. I’ve got to put that in. I’ve got to say something there – something’s that elliptical. And sometimes you don’t know where it has come from. I don’t know why you see three images and you think, “I’ve got to say that.” But I was writing it as I was doing it and that was incredibly exciting I must say.


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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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