For the first time they have been seen together and on the big screen The Souvenirone of the most acclaimed and appreciated European diptychs in recent years. In addition, the D’A Film Festival has given the opportunity to see it almost continuously, with only 24 hours of rest between screenings; And it is that, although the first part ended up being released in 2019 and the second in 2021, it is very important to see them together to fully understand the experience and objectives of director Joanna Hogg.
Slisten part 1 transports us to the 80s to delve fully into the life of Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne), a young filmmaker who tries to find a niche for her own voice in the world of cinema, while combining her university life with the appearance of what is surely the first great love of her life. The film, based on the filmmaker’s own experiences, travels between the doubts and oppressions generated in Julie by the search for her own gaze as a director and the suffocation of a relationship with a man who, although he has especially toxic behaviors, is her main shelter and escape route. The main problem of this first part is the uncomfortable situation that the viewer suffers from being unable to identify or empathize with either the young protagonist who is sometimes shown as a pampered rich girl who is too passive, or with the mythologized, toxic and arrogant junkie of the is in love. The film is a chain of conversations and situations of a relationship that is not only incomprehensible but can also leave you indifferent.
The viewer who has seen the first part of Joanna Hogg’s diptych in 2019 and has not enjoyed it, surely it does not cross his mind to see the second part. However, it is well worth giving it a chance to fully understand the intentions of the director. Remembrance Part 2 picks up immediately where the previous one left off, Julie’s relationship is drastically cut short and her life turns 180 degrees. It is in this part that the relationship with her parents takes on greater prominence (the actress who plays the mother is Tilda Swinton herself, the real mother of the leading actress) and serves as the basis for Julie to look back on everything that it has happened to you. In addition, Julie will use the cinema itself (which she had abandoned) as the main therapeutic means with which to analyze her past. In this way, the second part serves as a rereading of the first and provides all the nuances necessary and ignored at first to understand and empathize with Julie. In the end, as in life itself, things happen and we don’t have to look for an explanation at the moment, but rather time will lead us to reflect on it and find or not an explanation for our actions. Although the true lesson that the film conveys to us is that we will not always be able to understand everything, things will simply be stored in our memories and will remain there, like small pieces of what we were and what we are.
Hogg culminates with The Souvenir Part II a work that could well have failed due to its autobiographical and personal risk. But the truth is that in the end the feeling that remains is that of an extremely sincere workwith the good and bad things that honesty brings, but whose bravery cannot be faulted.
The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg, 2019-21) ⭐️⭐️⭐️½