On the outskirts of Birmingham and the margins of society the Billingham family perform extreme rituals and break cultural taboos as they muddle through a life decided by factors beyond their control. At times shocking and laced with an unsettling humour, three-interlinking episodes unfold as a powerful evocation of the artist’s personal experience of growing up in a Black Country council flat.
- Special Mention - Locarno Festival
- Silver Star - El Gouna FF
- Golden Alexander - Thessaloniki IFF
- Grand Jury Prize - Sevilla IFF
- Grand Prix - Luxembourg City FF
- Locarno Film Festival 2018
- Toronto International Film Festival 2018
- El Gouna Film Festival 2018
- BFI London Film Festival 2018
- Viennale 2018
- Thessaloniki International Film Festival 2018
- AFI FEST 2018
- Seville European Film Festival 2018
- International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019
- Premiers Plans Festival - Angers 2019
- FICUNAM 2019
- Luxembourg City Film Festival 2019
- New Horizons International Film Festival 2019
- Ella Smith
- Justin Salinger
- Patrick Romer
- Deirdre Kelly
- Sam Gittins
- Joshua Millard-Lloyd
- Richard Billingham
- Daniel Landin
- PRIMITIVE FILM
Award-winning photographer Richard Billingham’s autobiographical first film gives an overpowering sense of how a bad relationship can create misery.
"Ray & Liz" is formally arresting and rigorous, though not at the expense of its direct emotional force.
Billingham's compositions are gorgeous -- some of them are close recreations of his published photographs. Yet there is more than superficial beauty at play.
There’s a raw tenderness even to the film’s most ghastly displays of social inequality and parental neglect, the sense of an artist not merely documenting his past, but reckoning with it.
It works, and often beautifully. Billingham has a clear vision from the outset, letting his camera rove around the shabby rooms which Ray and Liz inhabit and focusing on the minutiae peppering their reality: buzzing flies, glittering bottles of homebrew and liquor, cheap jigsaw puzzles, worn-out settees, jars of pickled red cabbage and used cigarettes collected from sidewalks and tube stations.
I prefer to show and not tell. I’m not really interested in making a polemic. Maybe it’s my art background… I don’t want to make things too obvious—be it in a film or a gallery exhibition. I want to make people think.
Acclaimed British artist and photographer Richard Billingham was born in Cradley Heath in 1970. Whilst studying Fine Art at the University of Sunderland, he began taking photographs of his family as source material for his paintings. One of his tutors spotted the snapshots and recognised their extraordinary power as artworks in their own right. Shortly after graduating in 1996, a collection of Richard’s family photographs was published for the first time in book form, entitled Ray's Laugh. Richard won the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize the next year and was included in the famous Saatchi Sensation exhibition alongside Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst. He was commissioned to make FISHTANK, by Artangel and BBC2. This ground-breaking documentary work had a television audience of over 2 million and an international festival life. He has gone on to produce many more extraordinary photographic series including Black Country, Zoo, Constable and Panorama.