No one asked right away, but ‘The Souvenir Part II’ is a great companion directed by Joanna Hogg


With Honor Swinton Byrne, Richard Ayoade, Tilda Swinton

Posted on December 17, 2021


Joanna hogg’s Memory was an unlikely candidate for sequelae treatment. The 2019 film was semi-autobiographical in nature, detailing the protagonist’s relationship with an older man while she was a film student in the ’80s. The relationship was incredibly toxic and ended in a fatal overdose of heroine of his partner. Memory was a complete job that left no questions unanswered – but sort of a follow-up to Hogg, The Remembrance Part II, feels like a needed addition to its story.

second part resumes just after the events of its predecessor. Honor Swinton Byrne returns as Julie, mourning and reconciling her feelings over the loss of her partner, Anthony (Tom Burke), and the trauma that relationship has brought to her life. Byrne’s real mother, Tilda Swinton, is back as Julie’s refined and so chic mother, Rosalind. Their mother-daughter dynamic is warm and supportive, Rosalind even drawing inspiration from Julie’s creative activities and turning to pottery with varying results.

Rather than focusing solely on Julie’s grief, Hogg’s sequel is a film about Julie who thrives as a woman and filmmaker in the wake of grief. All along second part, Julie is directing a film for her film school, which deals with her relationship with Anthony, of course. Her confusion and unease throughout this partnership is manifested in her indecision as a director trying to present the story in a cohesive manner. It’s an intriguing look into the mind of an artist using the medium he has chosen as a means of struggling and exorcising what haunts him.

Hogg also takes the time to comment on her work in the film industry as a young woman. She’s been talking and talking, and the constant pressure to conform to the old guard – even for something as insignificant as a rough script held up with tape – contextualizes Hogg’s personal journey to becoming a director.

second part is a calm film that holds its audience at arm’s length while somehow feeling intimate. The audience is a fly on the wall who see a lot without being aware of anything real. Hogg created a great backing piece for his 2019 film. He lifts the original film in hindsight, but it’s a film in its own right, with a dramatic ending that will leave you feeling uncomfortable and curious. (A24)


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