Whole Hog on Hogg

I’ve now watched all four of Joanna Hogg’s films. Here they are from most recent to oldest:

The Souvenir 2019
Exhibition 2013
Archipelago 2010
Unrelated 2007 originally, made a USA splash in 2014

And here’s what I have to say first. It’s a sad state of affairs, when lesser movies like Assayas’ Non-Fiction get more local attention than a masterpiece like The Souvenir. Specifically, trendy artsy conversations (as in Non-Fiction, vindicated by a favorite film podcast movies.imo as intellectual masturbation and also by the film God Martin Scorsese who was executive producer of The Souvenir) some how trumps heroin amongst a similar bourgeois population.
It’s not that something wicked has to befall wealthy people, yet without a conflict, (in Non-Fiction, they’re all cheating on each other except for the emotionally abusive character) a movie doesn’t really resonate. Again, to agree with the imo movies men, the characters in Non-Fiction are forgettable.

Now I sound like someone on the Democratic panel last night moaning about current digression rather than talk about the positive.
Despite my defending The Souvenir, it’s not my favorite of the four Hogg films, though second is nothing to feel remorse over. In the top spot would be her first film “Unrelated” which stars a very young Tom Hiddleston (26) (who Hogg uses in roles both big and small in all but The Souvenir) and Kathryn Worth. In this film, Worth is the fifth, no make that seventh wheel of a family on vacation in Sicily. Without spoiling this (you can watch it on VuDu for free), Worth is going through a bit of a mid-life crisis and Hiddleston is a young and restless youth corrupting the morals of the nuclear family’s young adults.

What’s delicious about all of Hogg’s movies is she’s a reliable artist where you’ll find all of these trinkets in every film:
closing doors
phone conversations
wind in trees, long winding paths
boisterous shots juxtaposed with quiet nature
lying prostate
the theme of disconnection or search for true self

If you’ve never seen a Hogg film, seek one out, they’re meditative voyeuristic compelling features that may annoy you at the beginning, but I dare you to walk away from there deep magnetism.

Joanna Hogg, part 2 in my weekend, Archipelago from 2010

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.