Filmmaker Terence Davies early work was intentionally autobiographical. The likes of The Terence Davies Trilogy, Distant Voices Still Lives and The Long Day Closes looked at growing up working class in Britain in the 1940s and 1950s, touching on the overwhelming effects of Catholicism on him, as well as his own difficult relationship to being gay. Although his work then hasn’t been so explicitly based on himself, there have always remained very distinct echoes of the director in the subjects he’s chosen and the way he’s approached them.
That continues with A Quiet Passion, his biopic of 19th Century American poet, Emily Dickinson. Davies personal connection to the material is apparent from the first scene, where a young Emily is being asked to pick between two strict ideas of where she and a group of other young women stand in relationship to Christianity. However, she stands alone, unable to say where she should be. Once again Davies is fascinated by the push and pull of religion, of someone who wants the world while simultaneously limiting themselves to a small part of it, as well as the strictures of society for those who both desire to fit in and reject it. [Read more…]