A film built on memories of the director that make it interesting, more than in the description of this dependency relationship, but in her gaze towards artistic creation. While the protagonist builds her film between documentary and fiction, the film we are watching looks like a documentary at the end (the "interviewed" mother). It is a deep insight into creative process, which makes us curiously await its sequel.
3,5 After her last film it's quite evident that Hogg is one of the most interesting filmmakers nowadays, especially because of her sense of spatiality (absolutely unique in modern cinema and something only Antonioni achieved). But another great feature of her is how she domain so perfectly what is out of the screen (in Exhibition it's only through the noises how she triggers the paranoia) and her sense of economy.
Initially I thought it would be a hilarious dissection of a talentless upper-class humanities student layabout; the footage of decrepit Sunderland accompanied by the meaningless platitudes of Julie's film concept. But the film soon becomes more touching, and makes very clear its reason to exist. Tom Burke is great.
I decided to watch The Souvenir because I was intrigued by the anticipated artistic dynamic between Honor Swinton Byrne and Tilda Swinton who are (of course) mother and daughter in real life. I wasn't disappointed, the relationship between the two characters was very natural. I also enjoyed watching the character of 'Anthony' played by Tom Burke unfold. If I could give 3.8 stars, I would, as it is a good film.
Most of the 4/5-star reviews are about the director's talent or the qualities or flaws of the characters. And yes, there is that and great cinematography and good performances and effective use of lighting but is all that enough to make a good movie? I was bored and could not wait for it to end. My highlight of it was recognising the song from the dance scene from Call me by your name. Was very pleased with myself.
I find it hard to see the chemistry between the couple but I've seen it plenty of times in real life, the effect of a toxic relationship making you ask 'what the hell do they see in each other' where your own goals are secondary because your partners problems are now yours in priority. The Souvenir manages to achieve that, to make you frustrated what your seeing and question the gas-lighting tactics of relationships.
There is something about the way that Joanna Hogg composes her scenes, places her camera and engages her actors, that results in a very raw and naked view of her characters. Quiet drama which is overwhelmingly loud. Tom Burke's Anthony has a dominating presence on Byrne's Julie which is often uncomfortable to watch. Exceptional, controlled, film making.
joanna hogg's methodology can be gleaned from the scene featuring a lecture on hitchcock: “we have what appear to be all the pieces we need for the murder, but nothing ever happens.” in a film more interested in consequences than events, we are given only space to recover, without the cathartic cataclysm of actually feeling. it is, perhaps, a reflection of society's advocacy for alienating women from their emotions.
absolutely loved every other film i have seen by hogg and was so excited to see this but didn't connect with the main characters at all so it all fell flat for me. Actually found them quite annoying & thought Swinton jnr brought nothing to the party. Hogg is the master of showing what isn't being said, all interactions are happening on an unspoken level hidden by small talk but felt that was present at all here