TRIBUTES have been paid to a British screenwriter and film director who has died after a “short illness”. 

 Terence Davies, who lived in Mistley, has died aged 77.

Davies established himself on the cinematic map in the late 1970s and early 1980s with his trilogy of autobiographical films titled Children, Madonna And Child, Death And Transfiguration and went on to make nine more feature films.

The highly decorated director was born in 1945 in Liverpool and his works have been described as “pure hypnotic magic”. 

Some of his most famous pieces include Distant Voices. Still Lives, The Long Day Closes, The House of Mirth, The Deep Blue Sea and Benediction. 

Distant Voices. Still Lives and The Long Day Closes were projects close to his heart and deeply autobiographical. 

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

With them, he explored his own experiences of growing up as a gay young man, life and community in Liverpool with a brutal father and a religious mother. 

Manager John Taylor said in a statement given to the PA news agency: “I am deeply saddened to announce the death of Terence Davies, who died peacefully at home in his sleep after a short illness on Saturday October 7 2023.”

The statement added the Latin words “Umbra Sumus”, from poet Horace, and an extract from British writer Christina Rossetti’s poem titled When I Am Dead, My Dearest – both of which had significance to Davies.

Born in Liverpool, Davies worked as a clerk in a shipping office and a book-keeper in an accountancy firm for 10 years before enrolling at the Coventry Drama school in 1973.

In 1988, the filmmaker won the Cannes International Critics Prize for Distant Voices, Still Lives – a film drawn from his own family memories of a working class life in 1940s and 1950s Liverpool.

A host of famous faces have also starred in his films, including Sex Education star Gillian Anderson – who played socialite Lily Bart in Davies’ 2000 adaptation of Edith Wharton’s The House Of Mirth.

While Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz played Hester Collyer in Davies’ 2011 adaption of Terence Rattigan’s 1952 play The Deep Blue Sea, about a forbidden love and the fear of loneliness.

According to residents, he was a great supporter of the arts and acknowledged the struggle to receive funding for projects. 

During his residency in Mistley, he was a regular guest at The Thorn and he will be deeply missed, as a person and artist.