4 July 2014

Boyhood 2

The perfect opening film for FACT's Liverpool Biennial 2014 accompanying film programme Boyhood encompasses the themes of ‘A Needle walks into a Haystack’ beautifully and organically, looking at our habits and habitats, along with the relationships that fill our immediate world.

No stranger to episodic filmmaking, Richard Linklater (director of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight) often focuses on the finer details of identity agency and selfhood, especially of children and young people, having also directed cult classic Dazed and Confused (1993) and School of Rock (2003).

Filmed periodically, Linklater met with the same actors every few days for 12 years, which meant he could literally follow the life of Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, from the ages of six to 18. As the son of Mason Senior and Olivia (Linklater regulars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette) Mason Jnr faces all the physical and emotional challenges and stresses of growing up, including all the uncertainties of his divorced parents finding new partners of questionable suitability.

As Boyhood follows the journey of (primarily) one child over 12 years, you may expect to see some of the more commonly recalled memories from childhood, life changing events, births, marriages, the things that stay with people forever. Instead Linklater focuses on the everyday, those average days where if we were looking back on our own lives we’d say nothing much really happened. But in these seemingly mundane moments, we discover the most about people, how they interact and how they inevitably change over time.

Whether Mason is faced with another sibling battle with older sister Samantha (played by Lorelei Linklater, Richard Linklater’s daughter), arguing Star Wars lore with his dad, or having his heart broken by an out-of-his league first love, the film renders the apparently ‘normal’ both unfamiliar and compelling. And while the changes Mason and sister Samantha undergo are clear to see as they both grow up before your eyes, those of their parents, match them perfectly in this unique collaborative success.

As the first film in a series of nine curated by artist Sharon Lockhart, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is an excellent filmic introduction to this year’s Biennial that works effortlessly alongside Lockhart’s own work. The organically formed film and realistic portrayal of life is a great preview of what else is to come at FACT over the next few months.

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood will be showing on Sunday 6 July as part of Liverpool Biennial which is running until 26 October. Tickets are available from the Box Office, by phone on 0151 902 5737 and online. Click here to buy.