Never has song been used so poignantly as in this painful, yet curiously fond recollection of postwar Liverpool from director Terence Davies.
Davies draws on family memories and experiences of Liverpool during the 1940s and 50s, and the popular tunes that punctuate the ritualistic round of family gatherings and pub sing-songs jarringly counterpoint the irrational violence meted out by short-fused father Pete Postlethwaite.
Unflinchingly depicting both the beatings and their consequences, Davies brings a bruising realism to the stylised series of vignettes, which adeptly avoid the patronising tone that jaundices so many portraits of working-class life.
He followed this haunting film with the even more remarkable The Long Day Closes.
Eileen as a child
Tony as a child
Maisie as a child