Place III

film 4 of 5

Of Time and the City

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 16, 2015

Syntax and semantics define genres, says Professor Rick Altman (1987). It would seem that they also define auteurs, or assist us in understanding or criticizing them. Syntactically, this film is Terence Davies all over. He’s not designing and creating the images like he does in his fiction features, but he certainly uses stock and music in that very characteristic way of his. He bears down and holds, his juxtapositions evoke and shimmer, etc.

Elsewhere, though, Of Time and the City is quite a bit less characteristic. Davies likes slow pacing, but some of these sequences noodle. I imagine I can hear him. I’m going to finish this piece of music no matter what! And then there’s the semantical. What a bad attitude! It’s not that much-remarked Beatles crack, which is actually probably healthy. It’s the plain sarcasm, which in the end it’s pretty unattractive. Too bad, what with all the good or promising material here (the weight of his Catholicism and his repudiation thereof, the gender stuff, the crafted narration and his fine delivery). In the end, though, bummer.