Ray & Liz, the devastating feature debut in shades of grey by Richard Billingham, is based on earlier video work and the beautiful photo book Ray’s a Laugh (1996) by the British artist/photographer. Within an oppressive frame, Billingham reconstructs three episodes from his childhood in the depressing tenements outside Birmingham in the era of Margaret Thatcher.

His father Raymond is a chronic alcoholic who barely goes outside and usually drinks his own home-made hooch. Mother Liz is a tattooed, chain-smoking mass of flesh who pummels Ray’s head and occasionally does a jigsaw puzzle. Richard and his brother Jason watch wide-eyed. Yet despite all the poverty and disconsolate atmosphere, there’s also beauty in Billingham’s meticulous recording of memories without sentiment and he shows – on occasions – compassion for his nearest and dearest. This autobiographical gem has won awards in Locarno, Montreal and Thessaloniki.

Filmmaker
Richard Billingham
Country
United Kingdom
Year
2018
Medium
DCP
Length
108’
Language
English
Producer
Jacqui Davies
Production Company
Jacqui Davies Limited.
Sales
Luxbox
Editor
Tracy Granger
Production Design
Beck Rainford
Sound Design
Joakim Sundström
Cast
Ella Smith, Justin Salinger, Patrick Romer, Deirdre Kelly, Tony Way, Sam Gittins, Joshua Millard-Lloyd