Author Topic: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film  (Read 910 times)

The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« on: August 31, 2019, 12:02:51 PM »
Anyone seen this or plan to? Quite the headscratcher, genuinely emotionally complex. Have picked a number of issues in it but also still feel like I like the film. It's provoked a conversation inside of me, basically.



If you don't know Joanna Hogg she did Archipelago, described by Stewie Lee as "an art film about middle class people on a disappointing holiday", a couple of films I haven't seen, the Dot Cotton goes to Wales episode of Eastenders, and some British telly of the 90s. If you do know her, this is a bit of a different step. There are still some light comic tableau dismale about pretentious middle class people, but there's generally more heft than simple ennui and repression.

This is an autobiographical piece about a woman attempting to find what motivates her while balancing a...difficult...relationship. I won't spoil anything even though it's more about mood and journey rather than plot. Tilda Swinton's daughter plays the lead and I expect she'll go on to have a fine and interesting career after this just like her mum (who is in it too). There are bits that are meant to be erotic that - I think by design - seem a bit plastic, while the real erotic moments are much more everyday.

There are some meta flourishes about what it is to make a film and how much of your own voice is dependent upon your own experience. It's provocative stuff, but like Fleabag and Simon Amstell do to varying degrees, there's a sense of building up defences against accusations of a posh person's best work being a psychodrama about themselves. It's a bit cynical, but it doesn't weigh the film down.

Don't write it off based on the promo material because it is essentially a realist film, whilst the poster suggests some post-Downton shit. There is also a sequel next year.

Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2019, 03:20:02 PM »
It's on Mubi Go this week so I'll probably pop along to it tomorrow. Joanna Hogg is a filmmaker who has totally eluded me so far but seems to be quite disliked by most my friends who have remotely similar tastes.

Lost Oliver

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Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2020, 03:39:13 PM »
Saw this last night and really liked it. Didn't expect to care so much about the characters but I did at the end. Really well done.

Wasn't sure about Hogg after I saw Exhibition which to me was absolutely dreadful. That said, I could only watch 45 minutes of it. Anyway, this felt real and moody and brilliant. 3.5 to 4 bags of popcorn. What else should I watch by her?

SPOILERWas convinced she was going to get the old AIDS. Maybe the plot of the second flim?

Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2020, 03:44:46 PM »
nah I think the film is more-or-less the story of J Hogg so nothing so dramatic

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Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2020, 03:50:05 PM »
This is indeed an excellent film - it came top in the Sight and Sound critics poll for 2019. I wasn't that keen on Exhibition either but I liked Archipeligo a lot. Unrelated is well regarded as well but I've yet to see it.

Funcrusher

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Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2020, 03:51:31 PM »
nah I think the film is more-or-less the story of J Hogg so nothing so dramatic

It's definitely very autobiographical. The second film is going to be about the character beginning her career as a film director.

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Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2020, 05:59:52 PM »
Hogg is also someone that has evaded me, or perhaps I have evaded her due to the reputation her films have for wallowing in middle-class angst. However, based solely on the position it attained in the S&S poll I watched it yesterday. I like her hyper-naturalistic style - it is very immersive and the main actor really pulls off an incredibly realistic style of acting. I'm surprised to learn that she is Swinton's daughter - they act very differently. And that becomes a problem for me as I found my immersion in this really affected by the presence of Swinton and Ayoade. I was being swept along by the acting and then I got wrenched out of my suspension of belief.

Another issue I had with this film was the presentation of Hogg as attending what seemed like a bit of a ropey filmmaking course, rather the reality which is that she attended the incredibly prestigious and eye-wateringly expensive National Film and Television School. Tilda Swinton was in her final dissertation film, I believe, and she was able to shoot partially using some of Derek Jarman's equipment. Lots of privelege that is barely touched on beyond the nagging of her Mum for more money for 'equipment'.

Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2020, 06:42:14 PM »
One of her earlier films - "Unrelated" is on Mubi for 3 more days for everyone's information. I'd rank it as better than Exhibition, but not as good as good as Archipeligo.


Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2020, 07:05:42 PM »
I find (based only on what I've seen: this and Unrelated) that too often her narrative style leans heavily on realism as a proxy for tension or drama. And as such found myself fully believing in all her characters and yet utterly bored and frustrated by them at the same time.

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Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2020, 08:24:46 PM »
I find (based only on what I've seen: this and Unrelated) that too often her narrative style leans heavily on realism as a proxy for tension or drama. And as such found myself fully believing in all her characters and yet utterly bored and frustrated by them at the same time.

I know EXACTLY what you mean - she is an absolute master at putting across genuine loneliness and isolation in her characters, perhaps better than any other director I know of alive or dead, but her films almost seem to be going out of their way to alienate casual viewers.  Lee's "disappointing holiday" capsule review, whilst obviously said in jest, is actually a perfect summation of Archipelago.  Hogg's films are basically about nothing other than rich upper class and upper-middle class people with VERY first world problems.

Also, for someone so lauded as an auteur, her films don't have much depth or many layers.  I went to a screening of Exhibition in Glasgow (GFT if memory serves) which was followed by a Q&A with Hogg.  In the Q&A, when it was opened to the floor, someone asked if one specific point in the film alluded to one of the characters (I can't remember if it was the wife or the husband as I haven't seen it again since) having some history of tragedy and/or mental health issues, as the actions and dialogue seemed to suggest it was so.  I thought the same after that scene, but Hogg said that wasn't the case and it was just simple natural panic.  And that's what she said to pretty much every attempt by the audience and on-stage interviewer to read something into the film other than what was on the surface.

I've not seen Souvenir yet, and it does at least sound like she's moved in a different direction, but, in my opinion, she's had three strikes already.

Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2020, 09:17:13 PM »
Souvenir makes all her previous films look like experiments. Give it a go.

Lost Oliver

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Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2020, 12:12:09 PM »
Speaking of Ayoade why did he look so young? He looked about 25.

Will check out Archipelago then.

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Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2020, 02:04:47 PM »
Speaking of Ayoade why did he look so young? He looked about 25.

Black don't crack + hair dye x Clem Fandango clothes.

That was also his wife in that scene I believe - she plays the actress in the Gay episode of our Graham's IT Crowd.

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Re: The Souvenir (2019) - new Joanna Hogg film
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2020, 02:49:08 PM »
That was also his wife in that scene I believe - she plays the actress in the Gay episode of our Graham's IT Crowd.

She's also the sister of current CaB fave Laurence "Loz" Fox.

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