Terence Davies, the Liverpool-born director of autobiographical memory pieces like “The Long Day Closes” and “Distant Voices, Still Lives,” has died. He was 77. The English filmmaker passed away peacefully in his home after a short illness on October 7, as confirmed on his official social media pages.

Davies directed several masterpieces in his lifetime, from the sorrowful “The Deep Blue Sea” starring Rachel Weisz as an eternally unhappy seeker of love to his debut feature “Distant Voices,” built on his own closeted working-class British upbringing. You could even say the same about his last film, “Benediction,” starring Jack Lowden as the queer poet Siegfried Sassoon, wrapped around by a coterie of Bright Young Things. He received great acclaim for films like “A Quiet Passion,” starring Cynthia Nixon as the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson, as well as the Edith Wharton adaptation “House of Mirth,” led by Gillian Anderson. Serious actors loved working with him, as he created extraordinary portraits of men and women bristling against their stations in life.

Davies was born the youngest of 10 children and raised Catholic by his mother before renouncing religion altogether in his young adult life, and these aspects of his upbringing informed his output: He wore his heart earnestly on his work, often casting misunderstood people like Dickinson or Sassoon as versions of himself. Davies was a notoriously self-deprecating gay man who lived celibately the majority of his life, as he loved to discuss and laugh about in interviews such as ours.

Some of Davies’ biggest champions have been the likes of J. Hoberman, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Richard Brody, and even Jean-Luc Godard. He was a critic’s darling who preferred never to make too much noise, and so was never part of any awards chatter and nor did he wish to be. But his oeuvre, from the melancholy Lewis Grassic Gibbon adaptation “Sunset Song” to the very autobiographical Southern John Kennedy Toole drama “The Neon Bible” with Gena Rowlands,” was as acclaimed as any and always deeply personal. And clearly he loved his erudite classic authors.

From painting working-class portraits to sketching urbane artistic figures, he was long public about his discomfort with being gay and his feelings of banality toward life in general. He was not an especially hopeful storyteller but in his films always was a search for redemption. (In the final scene of “Benediction,” though, and therefore Davies’ last, Sassoon in a tearful breakdown realizes he never found it.)

Any filmmaker could learn quite a lot from his wry and even philosophical musings on the nature of art-making. “When you write anything, you’re saying, ‘This is important to me and it would be nice for it to be important to you.” But where does it cease to be egotism and become self-importance?” he said in an IndieWire interview. “I don’t know where one ends and the other begins. When you see [the self-important] part of art, it’s never pleasant, especially when you think you’ve lost something that can’t be lost. There’s always inevitably egotism there because that’s what we are, and you can’t not express it. If you just merely imitate things that had a bigger effect on you, it’s just poor imitation. If that influence comes out of you unconsciously, refracted, that’s interesting. But you’re absolutely right. There is, at the end of the day, an element of, ‘Look at me, aren’t I important?’ And the answer is you’re not.”

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