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'Ray & Liz' (2018) - Richard Billingham.

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  • 'Ray & Liz' (2018) - Richard Billingham.

    Talented photographer Richard Billingham's stark, witheringly unsentimental autobiographical feature about a grossly dysfunctional northern working class family is a consistently downbeat, sporadically sardonic, frequently fascinating debut that most definitely doesn't spare the rod, nor spoil the child! Watching this unsettling, bravely unfiltered dissection of an increasingly dissolute family 'living' in abject squalor, while wrenching, ultimately proves to be a curiously edifying experience. Sadly, the decades separating the initial release of Ken Loach's no less astringent 'Poor Cow' and 'Ray & Liz' somewhat bluntly suggests that all too little has improved regarding the rudimentary living standards of the many impoverished UK residents currently faltering below the poverty line. 'Ray & Liz' is a claustrophobic Kitchen Sink drama, often lingering with uncomfortable intimacy within their more indelicate nooks and crannies, and yet, empathic cinematographer Daniel Landin's exquisite photography has a painterly, mesmeric quality, drawing you ever deeper into this damaged couple's crepuscular existence.

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