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Entries in Terence Davies (5)

Jul 17 2017

The Furniture: A Quiet Passion's Floral Punctuations

"The Furniture"is our weekly series on Production Design.You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

byDaniel Walber

If you know one thing about the life of Emily Dickinson,it's probably that she was a recluse.She spent the last years of her life cooped up in her Massachusetts home.Very few of her 1,800 poems were published during her lifetime.Up until very recently,only one picture of her was known to exist.

Yet she is now recognized as the most important American poet of the 19th century.That her universally resonant voice emerged from such isolation has seemed miraculous.A Quiet Passionpeers into this conundrum and finds some strikingly poetic answers.

Unsurprisingly,the key to understanding is found in her house.Cynthia Nixon gives a brilliant performance,but the difference between Terence Davies's film and lesser biopics is that she is not left to fend for herself.The work of production designer Merijn Sep and set decorator Ilse Willocx is crucial...

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Jun 08 2017

May 13 2016

Interview: Agyness Deyn on Her Breakthrough in 'Sunset Song',and How Modeling Prepared Her for Film

Josehere.Agyness Deyn doesn't have a very long list of screen credits,she played Aphrodite inClash of the Titans,narrated a Rihanna video,and appeared inPusher.That will undoubtedly change once directors see her gorgeous work in Terence Davies'Sunset Songwhere she plays Chris Guthrie,a Scottish farm girl trying to fend for herself in the years before WWI.It's a performance made of composed emotion,endless inner strength,and an otherworldly quality that makes one think of great work by Olivia de Havilland and Ingrid Bergman.

Many people will know Ms.Deyn from her work as a model,back in the mid-aughts there wasn't an issue of Vogue where she didn't appear.With her pixie cut,effortless chic and strong personality she brought a "punk/rock"edge to modeling.Since 2012,she's been focusing her attention on film andSunset Songis her first leading role.

I sat down to speak to Ms.Deyn about working with Terence Davies,her favorite actresses and how her life in the runway prepared her for her work on film.Read the conversation after the jump...

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Nov 16 2015

Cynthia Nixon is Emily Dickinson

Manuelhere.No sooner wasNat discussingthe talents of one Miss Cynthia Nixon,who's great inJames White(review) and commenting on the fact that she's an Oscar away from EGOTing,than we gotthese new imagesfrom Terence Davies's upcoming filmA Quiet Passion.

In the film,Nixon plays poet Emily Dickinson.The always welcome,if criminally underused,Jennifer Ehle plays Vinnie Dickinson,her sister,and if these images are anything to go by,we're in for quite a treat.The project should no doubt excite anyone who's ever fallen in love with Dickinson's lyrical poetry.A known recluse (or "introvert"if you want to put it mildly),Dickinson produced copious amount of poetry in her lifetime but saw but a few of them published.Since her death she has become a key figure in American literature.

Emma Bell plays a young Emily which suggests the film may shuttle back and forth between her younger years and her later later life.

We know what a wondrous performance Davies courted out of Rachel Weisz inThe Deep Blue Sea —you'll remember she won the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Actress and even earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work — and so his pairing with these two talented actress should have us all excited.May this be a chance for Nixon to at least contend for that coveted golden statue?In the meantime for those looking forward to more of Davies's work,his new filmSunset Song,which premiered at TIFF will be released in the UK next month.

Oct 28 2011

London: "The Deep Blue Sea"

Davidhere with one last report from theLondon Film Festival.Master British filmmaker Terence Davies provided a suitably British closing film,with Rachel Weisz lost inThe Deep Blue Sea...

"Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea,"Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz) remarks at one point,naming the title of Terence Davies' latest feature,an adaptation of a Terence Rattigan play.It's Hester's voice that opens the film,too,disembodied over the dark blue background of the credits,reading a suicide note to her lover,Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston ofThorfame).Hester is drowning in the deep blue sea of her own adoration,because Freddie's love isn't strong enough to reciprocate and pull her back to the surface.

The Deep Blue Seabetrays its theatrical origins from the first shot,panning smoothly across the front of a row of houses,the edges of the frame misty as though the smoke machines have been humming for hours.Davies has never been one to shy away from formalistic filmmaking,though,and like his best work,this film finds emotional power in and despite of the thoroughly artificial surface,which cracks itself between theatrical mannerisms and the sort of dissolution of temporality that dominated Davies' feature debutDistant Voices,Still Lives.The couple's flat houses much of the action,lit with a curiously indistinct glow through the windows,and the dialogue,particularly Hester's verbalisation of her feelings,is more narrational than conversational.But only minutes in,her memories spin,and black dissolves glide through her memories with a ghostly implacability.

As we meet her,Hester is trying to commit suicide - an indication that her story is not set to be a cheerful one.Handy with the sort of observational intimacy he practiced inDistant VoicesandThe House of Mirth,Davies again tells a deeply personal story without giving his filmmaking over to a singular point of view.It's due to Weisz's superb performance - besting her Oscar-winning work inThe Constant Gardener- that we understand the moments of worldly perspective,from every mention of the war to the words of her landlady Mrs.Elton (Ann Mitchell),are Hester's own realisations of how selfish and narcissitic her dramatic emotions are.Despite the stilted dialogue,Weisz's is a very physical performance,the overwhelming nature of Hester's love and her attempts to quash it apparent in the cadences of her voice and the limits she puts on her movements.

The Deep Blue Seais often too mannered,too ponderous,and Davies' technical mastery of the camera has the faint scent of pomposity to it.The pitch of Weisz' vivid passion is never as apparent as it needs to be in this environment;a breathless swoop of the camera onto her face is notable for its alertness,a crack in the fusty air around her.But finally,though rooted in British history (as the final shot insists),this is an irrefutably personal story in a world that emphasised the communal.Hester,unfamiliar with the song the patriotic drinkers around her sing,softly sings the chorus only to Freddie,shifting the words into her own narrative.Selfish,but after all,her passion is just a drop in the deep blue sea.(B)