The Neon Bible, 1995, Terence Davies

The Neon Bible

Director: Terence Davies; With Jacob Tierney, Drake Bell, Gena Rowlands. GB, 1995, 91 min. English
Davies' third feature film was his first literary adaptation, taken from the novel that the late John Kennedy Tool (A Confederacy of Dunces) wrote at the age of 16. It is also the first of a number of films Davies would go on to make regarding American history. The Neon Bible is the story of David, a 15-year-old boy growing up in rural Georgia, just prior to the U.S. entering World War II. A shy, quiet boy, David lives with his loving, unstable mother and a cruel, belligerent father. Their lives shift significantly with the arrival of David's Aunt Mae (a superb Gena Rowlands), a worldly, liberated woman who has seen big cities and rejects the community's harsh evangelical morality. Opening and closing with David sitting alone on a train as it speeds through the night, the film displays Davies' already-established concern with memory and subjectivity. The filmmaker recreates the 1940s American South with deliberate theatricality, recalling the work of Davies' contemporary Derek Jarman. Despite this artifice, The Neon Bible is an ambitious film. Upon its release, critics and even Davies himself suggested that the film’s reach exceeded its grasp. However, considering its prescience regarding violent masculinity and fundamentalism as tools of oppression, this film is long overdue for reconsideration. (Michael Sicinski)

Screening dates:

Mi 27.10.2021 13:30
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