15
1hr 31mins

Terence Davies’ first American film is another story of burgeoning adulthood and troubled families, transplanting the director’s poetic gaze from mid-century Liverpool to the Deep South of the 1940s.

Unfortunately no Audio Description track is available for this feature.
Terence Davies Retrospective
Terence Davies
15
Drama
English

Adapted from the novel of the same name by John Kennedy Toole, The Neon Bible is the story of David (Jacob Tierney), a young teenager recalling the previous few years of his life as he boards a train and flees his home in Georgia.

Spanning the early 1940s to the end of the Second World War, David’s life is dominated by an abusive father (Dennis Leary) until the arrival of his Aunt Mae (Gena Rowlands, delivering one of her great performances), a professional singer and all-round live wire, lights up David’s life and provides an outlet for his burgeoning artistry.

The fantasy world they create together will provide an escape from life’s horrors and heartbreaks, from the arrival of war to David’s social alienation, and from his mother’s emerging mental illness to the spectre of racist violence that surrounds them.

A tale of emerging identity, social repression and thwarted dreams, Davies left explicit autobiography behind for the first time in The Neon Bible, yet effortlessly supplanted his unique visual style to 1940s America, creating a palette that often looks like an Edward Hopper painting brought to life.

Using his trademark travelling shots and evocative use of music, the result is another gorgeous work exploring life’s painful memories, moments of bliss, and the yearning for escape to a new life.

This film is screening at Tyneside Cinema as a part of our season Living as Poetry: A Tribute to Terence Davies which you can learn more about here!

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