LGBTQ Heroes: Terence Davies
Terence Davies was a screenwriter, film director, and novelist.
He is best known as the writer and director of autobiographical films, including Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), The Long Day Closes (1992) and the collage film Of Time and the City (2008), as well as literary adaptations, such as The House of Mirth (2000).
Davies was widely hailed by critics as one of the greatest British directors of his generation.
Davies was born in Liverpool, in 1945.
His father died when Davies was seven years old but has frequently been referenced in his work as an abuse presence in his life.
After he left school, at 16, Davies worked for ten years as a shipping office clerk and as an unqualified accountant before leaving Liverpool to attend Coventry Drama School. While he was there he wrote the screenplay for what became his first autobiographical short, Children (1976), filmed under the auspices of the BFI Production Board.
After that introduction to film-making Davies attended the National Film School, completing Madonna and Child (1980), a continuation of the story of his alter ego, Robert Tucker, covering his years as a clerk in Liverpool. He completed the trilogy with Death and Transfiguration (1983), in which he speculates about the circumstances of his death. Those works went on to be screened together at film festivals throughout Europe and North America as The Terence Davies Trilogy, winning numerous awards.
Davies’s first two features, Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes, are autobiographical films set in Liverpool in the 1940s and 1950s. These were career defining films.
Other films included The Neon Bible, The House of Mirth, The Deep Blue Sea, Sunset Song, and A Quiet Passion.
His last film, Benediction (2021), tells the story of the British war poet and memoirist Siegfried Sassoon.
Davies identified as a gay man and frequently explored gay themes in his films.
Davies died in 2023 at the age of 77.