Locarno Film Review: ‘Ray & Liz’

  • Variety
Locarno Film Review: ‘Ray & Liz’
Art imitates life “Ray & Liz,” the autobiographical debut feature by Turner Prize-nominated artist Richard Billingham; that’s nothing new. But it’s the way art imitates, reflects and recomposes other art — specifically, Billingham’s much-discussed photography — that lends complex layers of memoir and mimesis to this singular spin on the British kitchen-sink drama, preserving both the director’s childhood and his creative evolution in gorgeous, grainy amber. Collating multiple visual and thematic preoccupations from the director’s fine-art oeuvre (notably his bleakly intimate portraiture of his working-class parents) and filtering them through the ingenious compositional eye of d.p. Daniel Landin, “Ray & Liz” is formally arresting and rigorous, though not at the expense of its direct emotional force. Commercially, this Locarno competition entry is an uncompromisingly hard sell, though festival bookings will come thick and fast.

Familiarity with Billingham’s photographic output is by no means vital to an appreciation of “Ray & Liz,
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