Exhibition (2013)

JOANNA HOGG

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5

, 2013. , , , . Screenplay by Joanna Hogg. Cinematography by . Produced by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Joanna Hogg’s films all bear qualities that unite them in her vision and perspective while being each in their own ways unique: Unrelated investigates its emotional relationships intellectually, Archipelago is marked by explosive emotional repression, and this film, her third, places most of its substance into its aesthetic qualities.

Further emphasizing the film as a self-conscious work of art through casting, she puts two strong personalities from different creative worlds in their first major acting roles, The Slits’ guitarist and conceptual artist , who play married couple D and H. They have been living for two decades in an ultra-modern, sleekly designed and furnished home that they have decided to sell, for reasons that are not made explicit to us.

Between visits from their posh real estate agent (played in a cameo by frequent Hogg collaborator ), D and H occupy the space that they are about to leave and which they never before realized was so integral to their relationship, and now the idea of parting with it puts strain on how they relate to each other: communication becomes fraught, sex is fitful and disconnected, and time spent in the spaces outside their home is laden with tension and conflict.

Just how well Hogg bears this theme out through her familiar style of elliptical narrative and enigmatic editing is for the viewer to decide, it’s likely that her fans will want to forgive the film’s more obscure moments than newcomers to her oeuvre will.

In truth, it feels a lot more shallow than her previous work, it’s easy to know what it’s about while not caring one whit about it, but the performances are unselfconscious and there really isn’t a single shot in the whole thing that isn’t gorgeous.

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