Sunset Song: Terence Davies Beautiful Adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Novel

There was a long and difficult path to making Sunset Song, Terence Davies’ beautiful and heartfelt film, based on the 1932 novel of the same name by the Scottish writer Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

Getting there took a while. “Eighteen years ago, I first took the idea to the U.K. Film Council, and we were so shabbily treated,” Davies said. “It went on and on, and we had to jump through every kind of hoop, and eventually they said, ‘It hasn’t got legs,’ because all they wanted to do was make money and compete with America. It was appalling!”

“I told them, you’re idiots; we can’t do that here,” he said. “There have got to be stories which tell of a country’s soul.”

00:0000:00When money was finally denied, Davies gave an interview to The Guardian in which he was openly rude about the head of the council and a few other industry players for good measure. “I have never been able to play the career game,” he stated.

Sol Papadopoulos, who with Roy Boulter produced Davies’s 2008 documentary, “Of Time and the City,” agreed. “When we asked him, ‘What next?’ and he straightaway said ‘Sunset Song,’ we weren’t keen at all,” he said. “It had a history that almost ended his career the first time.”