I was so intrigued slash mystified by the obscure artsiness of The Souvenir that I had to go back and watch one of Joanna Hogg’s previous films, Archipelago from 2010.
The only major star in the film, Tom Hiddleston, plays Edward, the son of a family on holiday (as the Brits say).
I found several similarities to The Souvenir, reminding me that some directors keep familiarity, and audiences who dig that, like me, respond favourably. Latnhimos, for instance, is known for his repetitive beating soundtracks that drive one to suspenseful insanity.
Hogg, I’ve discovered, is a fan of the wide open sky, something that I connect to living on the 6th floor of my condo, with windows that are a tad high to see the actual skyline yet open to the clouds, akin to what you see on a plane (though not as high, OBVIOUSLY). She also does not mind making you sit and ponder, leaving lulls of awkwardness that remind one of past moments when silence can lead to skin crawling madness. Other interesting shots she leans toward are people on phones and from the two I’ve seen, people climbing: in The Souvenir a shot that stayed in my head is Jack, the uncaring beau, callously far ahead at the top of steep stairs leading to the Venice Opera, while Honor Swinton Byrne tries to catch up in a very long and complicated gown. In Archipelago, the family hikes up a hill, the older sister claiming possible injury, only to be feigning so that she may gain on lead on her brother (the aforementioned Hiddleston).
Amy Lloyd also stands out as the family’s personal cook, whose chemistry with Hiddleston is something palpable and yet annoying to the women of the family.
Definitely worth a freebie watch on Amazon Prime, especially on a rather gray, but fortunately rare, Sarasota afternoon.
There’s really no madness in Archipelago, except for the Satre-like ‘hell is other people’. We’ve all experienced being cooped up with family and when moods take over, watch out. We’ve also all been in situations longing for another person to arrive to break up the monotony. Here, the wife and mother, played by Kate Fahy, longs for her husband to arrive to help her socialize with her own children.
This morning I chose the A24 Podcast where Scorsese and Hogg are interviewed and I stopped it realizing Marty was going to speak to his first experience with Hogg’s work. I stopped it earlier, knowing I was going to watch. Now having finished the film (my homework), have given myself permission to listen. Marty says the same thing I felt, that he was drawn into the film despite its quiet milieu.