RAY & LIZ
RICHARD BILLINGHAM | UK | 2018 | 107 MIN | NR
Acclaimed artist Richard Billingham built a reputation in the mid-1990s with a series of harrowing but bleakly funny images of his working class parents in their squalid Birmingham home. With his feature debut RAY & LIZ, Billingham revisits that autobiographical subject matter, tracking the lives of his parents—scrawny, alcoholic Raymond and physically imposing Elizabeth—through three distinct periods in their lives. Bouncing between dingy, government-subsidized apartments, Ray and Liz bicker and drown their sorrows as their sons are left increasingly to their own devices. These vignettes of life on the margins of British society are insightful, disturbing, and laced with a surprising amount of dark humor. Aided by cinematographer Daniel Landin, Billingham lends an off-kilter, dreamy quality that offsets the harsh reality of the characters’ lives. Working within the grand tradition of British social-realist drama, Billingham has nevertheless carved out a singular niche with this lived-in, electrifying debut.
Post film discussion led by Timothy Corrigan, Professor of English, Cinema & Media Studies, and History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania
Cast: Ella Smith, Justin Salinger, Patrick Romer, Deirdre Kelly
Winner: Cannes Film Festival 2018 – Best Screenplay Award
“A rare and remarkable cine-memoir.” –Variety