Joanna Hogg


Best films:
, /10
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Joanna Hogg made her first film when she was already 47.

Unrelated (2007), shot with an amateur videocamera,

Archipelago (2010) Exhibition (2013), that features the Slits' guitarist Viv Albertine and conceptual artist Liam Gillick, On the surface, the autobiographical Souvenir (2019) is simply a melodrama, a doomed love story. However, there is obviously a psychological obsession at work, as the young innocent protagonist is oblivious to all bad omens and easily seduced by her lover no matter what he does to make her life miserable. There is also a metaphor about making films: the experts tell her that she needs to relate the experience of her film's plot to her own personal experiences, and her love story parallels precisely the "love" story in her film between a boy and his mom. The story is set in 1984, in the Margaret Thatcher era, during the IRA bombings and the Libyan hostage crisis in London, in the age of typewriters, pay phones and chain smokers. Julie is a young student of cinema who wants to make a film about a 16-year-old boy, Tony, who is morbidly attacked to his mother and lives in fear that one day she will die. We see still black and white photographs of the boy's neighborhood. She types her script on a typewriter. Her mother Rosalind is supportive. She meets Anthony, a chain smoker who introduces himself as working for the foreign office. He invites her to a classy cafe and psychoanalyzes her passion for the story of Tony. She falls in love. They visit his parents. Anthony asks her to stay two nights at her place to work on something mysterious, but mostly seems to play opera (Bartok's "Bluebeard's Castle"). Anthony keeps psychoanalyzing her. Then he suddenly leaves for Paris. He sends her a love letter. Julie's housemate Frankie moves out. Julie defends her idea for the film on Tony at a sort of audition at her film school. Anthony returns from Paris with a gift, sexy lingerie. While they make love, Julie notices needle marks on his arm. Julie borrows money from her mother saying that it is to pay for her school. Anthony and Julie visit her parents, who are wealthy and live in a giant mansion in the countryside. Then they have dinner with Anthony's friend Patrick and his wife. While Anthony is away, Patrick reveals to Julie that Anthony is a heavy heroin user. She is shocked and at night cries silently. She pays the next dinner at a classy dinner, during the Christmas holidays. Anthony moves in with her. It looks like Anthony is penniless, despite his boasting that he works for the foreign office to protect citizens from terrorists. One day Julie comes home and finds that burglars broke into her apartment and stole everything of value. At the same time Anthony pays for an expensive train trip to Venice, hotel and opera. Julie finally understands that he is the thief and he paid everything with her money. Back home she confronts him about the theft but he calmly smokes his cigarette in front, until eventually she's the one apologizing to him. The radio broadcasts news about the 1984 Libyan hostage and Anthony pretends to be involved in the negotiations. Julie starts filming her project at her film school. She also attends a meeting of former addicts who talk about their rehabilitation. One day she finds a trail of paper on the steps to her apartment leading to the window, and then she hears a loud explosion. The radio broadcast talk about a car bomb. Another day she gets home to find a stranger, who tries to talk about Anthony, but she kicks him out. She calls her mom: she needs more money. She catches an infection and doesn't tell the doctor that most likely she got it from Anthony. Then Anthony's mom Barbara calls that he has been arrested. When he reappears, she asks him to leave. Filming continues, but schoolmates notice that he's not focused, and she confesses that she's had six difficult months because of her love story. Now that Anthony is gone she writes a lot. She also has sex with another man. Anthony's mom calls that Anthony has disappeared. He reappears and invites her at the fancy restaurant. Anthony cries at the table. She welcomes him again in her life and her house, but in the middle of the night he is shaken by shivers, injures himself, crawls like a madman. She writes in her diary of six days of pain, and that Janet (presumably Tony's mother in her film) will have to die within 12 hours. Anthony and Julie have a picnic and he tells her that he's fine. Her parents come to celebrate her 25th birthday. Her mom Rosalind stays and Anthony moves downstairs. The filming continues. One night Anthony doesn't come home. Julie is worried. Then the phone rings and Rosalind picks up: it's Anthony's mom announcing Anthony's death for overdose. The giant door of a hangar opens slowly. A woman walks out, occupying only a tiny portion of the opening.

(Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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