Director: Joanna Hogg

Country: Iso-Britannia, Yhdysvallat

Year: 2022

Duration: 96 min

Languages: englanti / ei tekstitystä

Category: ,

Director Joanna Hogg has captivated festival audiences around the world – including in Sodankylä last summer – with her autobiographical double feature The Souvenir (2019) and The Souvenir: Part II (2021). Her latest film is a surprising and intriguing addition to the story of her alter ego, Julie. Tilda Swinton, an old friend and colleague of Hogg’s, who played the protagonist’s mother in The Souvenir, does a wonderful job in her dual role, this time also embracing the character of middle-aged Julie.

The backdrop for this atmospheric mystery, sprinkled with a touch of British Gothic, is a Welsh mansion hotel bathing in eerie foggy twilight, where Julie takes her elderly mother Rosalind for her birthday. Rosalind has significant memories attached to the hotel, and Julie is hoping to use the location to start making a film about her mother. But the work doesn’t seem to get started, because Julie is being haunted by anxiety and nocturnal sounds of the deserted building. Her relationship with her mother is not great, either: their conversations are shadowed by vague tensions bubbling under the surface.

Hogg and Swinton with their team have created a simple study of memories, life choices, and loss; inspired by the aesthetics of traditional ghost stories yet faithful to the director’s contemporary style. This little gem of a film will stay with you for a long time.

Suvi Heino

JOANNA HOGG (b. 1960) had a most unusual art trajectory: She started out making Super-8 shorts in the company of Derek Jarman; went only then to film school which she finished with a vividly eccentric work called Caprice (1986) featuring Tilda Swinton; cut her creative teeth for some twenty years on music videos and TV episodes, all culminating in the off-beat EastEnders special Dot’s Story (2003); before she finally was able to present her feature debut, Unrelated (2007). This wide apprenticeship is reflected in some unusual preferences, eg. casting artists like landscape painter Christopher Baker (in Archipelago, 2010) or Slits guitarist Viv Albertine and Relationism theorist/practitioner Liam Gillick (in Exhibition, 2013) in her films. She’s a genius.

Olaf Möller