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The first three films of Terence Davies—Children (1974), Madonna and Child (1980), and Death and Transfiguration (1983)—make up an 85-minute semiautobiographical trilogy about a Catholic working-class Liverpudlian named Robert Tucker, who's seen as a victimized schoolboy, a closeted middle-aged homosexual, and an 80-year-old dying in a hospital. The emotional power of Davies's subsequent great symphonic works (Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes) is already present, as are the dry wit and visual mastery, though in terms of range and technical means these short films remain sketchy chamber pieces by comparison.

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