The Souvenir Part II (2021)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

//USA, 2021. , , , , , , . Screenplay by Joanna Hogg. Cinematography by . Produced by , Joanna Hogg, , , . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Joanna Hogg continues the artistic reimagining of her own early career as a filmmaker that began in The Souvenir, which covered her time in film school and her relationship with her self-destructive lover Anthony. We begin almost immediately after the events of the first film, Julie () is recovering from the sorrow of her loss and learning to process her grief and guilt before sublimating that energy into her graduation project.

The outline of Julie’s proposed film meets with resistance from her instructors, but she soon finds herself on a film set solving problems and putting out ego fires, her only break from the chaotic stress of artistic creation the calm moments she has at home with her frosty but affectionate parents (, ).

The actual events covered in this chapter don’t take much to describe, but the experience of them is richer than the first chapter, there is something more electric and exciting about all the growing and learning that the character is doing while slowly establishing her artistic voice, which Hogg charts through subtle, almost imperceptible changes in the way her protagonist reacts to the overwhelming personalities she encounters.

The subtlety of this coming into her own has a beautiful counterpoint in Hogg’s rich visual style, particularly in turning Julie’s film sets into wonderful fantasy worlds which the director finds a great deal of humor in, poking fun at her own early ideas of the art world when we see Julie’s high concept project being screened.

That Hogg doesn’t try to find anything more poignant in the telling of this story than the moments she includes makes it feel intelligent, the film has a charm that will last and a style that will linger in the delicious manner of her most exciting work.

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