A QUIET PASSION
Terence Davies, who visited Sodankylä in 2010, is considered by many the greatest living British director. His later work has reached an irresistible peak with the elegant biography of the 19th century poet Emily Dickinson. Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City is impressive in the restricted role as the talented artist who, ahead of her time, is a prisoner of history.
Davies often uses dramatic music to create atmosphere in his films, but in A Quiet Passion he turns to minimalism – as is fitting for the title. The story begins with Dickinson’s youth and her lively female friends, but comes to closure in her home that she shares with a sister and her father. When Emily’s poems don’t reach the positive response they deserve, they become a way of frustration towards isolation.
Davies manages to avoid the usual traps of dress and period drama, and manages to reach the modern viewer with a stylistic story of a rebel of her time. The reality that catches the inner life of this great poet is touching as we travel together through her youth full of sunshine and promises to the lonely, dark days shadowed by illness. (TM)
TERENCE DAVIES practiced accounting for 10 years before being accepted to acting school at the age of 26. The “Terence Davies -trilogy”, created at the National Film School between 1976 and 1983, drew attention to his unique talent. In Cannes 1988 his feature debut Distant Voices, Still Lives delighted audiences with musical poetry, as it refreshed Davies’ memory of working-class families in 1940s and 1950s Liverpool. The Long Day Closes (1992) was another biographical piece diving into the movie memories of his childhood, but the sophisticated yet glamorous The House of Mirth (2000) was an Edith Wharton film about New York aristocrats. After suffering a period of lack of funding, Davies’ career was saved by a wonderful comeback – a documentary of Liverpool called Of Time and the City (2008). His most productive years reached their peak with a remake of The Deep Blue Sea (2011), a Scottish epoch Sunset Song (2015), and finally, A Quiet Passion.