This rich cinematic memoir of Liverpool from Terence Davies is a British gem. Of Time and the City is elegant and slightly elegiac, a poetic remembrance of things past populated with working-class kids in long shorts clattering around cobbled streets.
The film is a collage of fascinating archive footage and photographs together with recent footage, all linked by Davies’s deliciously sardonic observations about the city, and the boy he was while growing up there. Davies has a fruity and resonant delivery, his wit exaggerated by a camp flourish and a playful penchant for double entendres.
The soundtrack choices are mostly excellent – Sir John Tavener’s exultant The Protecting Veil is charged with hope while onscreen throngs of passengers spill from ships into a new life. Less affecting is the maudlin sentiment of He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Part-scrapbook, part- confessional, Davies’s odyssey through his past is garlanded with irreverent aphorisms. This is a film to be cherished.