Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 96: Thu Apr 6

Billy Liar (Schlesinger, 1963): BFI Southbank,NFT2, 8.30pm

This great film, also screening on April 14th & 27th, is part of the Northern Voices season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Released in the wake of the early social realist films of Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson, Schlesinger’s physical world is the same – northern and working-class – but his approach to social commentary and storytelling, as adapted from Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall’s book and play, is more playful and less concerned with realism than films like ‘Taste of Honey’ and ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’. Schlesinger’s Billy (Tom Courtenay) is a confused young man with too much imagination for considering kitchen sinks: nominally he’s an undertaker’s clerk, but his real job is to carve a parallel, fantasy world for himself, whether leading men to war in a state called Ambrosia or forging himself a career in showbiz. Billy’s endless lies feel less like deceptions and more like an expression of the conflicts within a young man who’s uneasy in a fast-changing world. Funny and unexpectedly poignant.
Dave Calhoun

Here's my favourite scene (and above). Courtenay rehearses his resignation ahead of the arrival of employer Emmanuel Shadrack (Leonard Rossiter).

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