The Souvenir Part II Pulls the Curtain Back on Growing Up and Making Movies

In 2019, A24 launched The Memento, British filmmaker Joanna Hogg’s semi-autobiographical tale a few younger, higher class lady concerned with an older man. Their relationship is at instances tender, and sometimes fraught. The younger lady, Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne), can be a movie scholar, and permits herself to continually be criticized by her boyfriend, Anthony (Tom Burke)—who says he works for the international service—and even taken benefit of financially.

Hogg’s follow-up, The Memento Half II, now in theaters, begins not lengthy after Anthony dies from an overdose. As Julie grapples along with his demise, she begins to metaphorically sober up—attending faculty extra typically and as soon as once more interacting along with her friends. She additionally has to face their evaluations of her as each a director and an individual when she takes on the mission of her very intimate graduate movie. It’s a fancy two-part narrative that deserves consideration and deeper dissection, now that Hogg’s total imaginative and prescient of Julie’s story is full.

Beneath, Vainness Truthful employees writers Yohana Desta and Cassie da Costa talk about the Half II’s themes, resonances, and performances—in addition to Hogg’s typically stunning strategy to placing the second a part of this story onscreen. 

Yohana Desta: If Joanna Hogg had solely made the primary installment of The Memento, that will have been beautiful sufficient. It’s an exquisite story, a sublime and thoroughly crafted movie trembling with coronary heart. However The Memento Half II—a continuation of the story, although Hogg has been averse to labeling it a sequel—is, to me, the extra profitable of the diptych. I really feel this manner for a number of causes—however first, what did you assume general?

Cassie da Costa: To me, Half II is a extra rigorous extension of the primary, in that we see Julie pressured to lastly collaborate along with her classmates in a bid to make her commencement movie. In The Memento, she’s so consumed by her thrilling, but darkish and tumultuous relationship with the older Anthony; —we barely see her present up in school or work together with individuals her age. This time, her friends push her to examinelook at her time with Anthony, which she depicts in her scholar movie, with out the identical self-serving naivete. In flip, this rising readability within the movie’s concepts pushes Hogg to take extra formal dangers and to ask herself why she’s doing what she’s doing as a filmmaker. On this manner, it’s her 8 ½ .

Desta: I believe that’s exactly what feels so electrical in regards to the second movie, although I’m admittedly a sucker for films about films. Hogg’s movie faculty reminiscences are so deliciously detailed, and she or he’s unafraid ofto portray Julie in an unflattering mild because the charactershe figures out the best way to develop into a director. I each liked and loathed watching her conflict along with her classmates; liked as a result of it was so naturalistic and wealthy with pressure, loathed as a result of Hogg’s portrait of grad faculty is rendered with painful accuracy. That roundtable of doubting professors casually eviscerating Julie’s work was some of the bone-chilling issues I’ve seen all yr. 

da Costa: It actually was! The intense previous professors telling her she must associate with her authentic plan to make a dour, reasonable, working- class movie solely outdoors of her expertise and, it appeared, information. 

One space I do know you and I really feel totally different, although, aboutdiffer in opinion on is in Hogg’s selection to maneuver awaydeparture from the well-lit naturalism of flats and corridors and into theatrical abstraction, replaying Julie’s experiences as a sort of nightmarish but additionally dreamlike passage. That second(it reminded mey of the overflowing stylistic strategy of movie and opera director Werner Schroeter, and even of the well-known filmmaker Schroeter impressed, Rainer Werner Fassbinder). 

That is the primary time within the movie we see (the ghost of) Anthony. I; in a single scene, Julie she dons an elaborate masks bearing his likeness whereas strolling slowly via a mirrored room. This passage, close to the top of the movie, brings to life Julie’s defiant assertion to her professors throughout that roundtable—the place she primarily says,: To closely paraphrase, “I don’t wish to make movies which are precisely like life.; I wish to make the issues I imagined in my head.” Hogg’s movies, on the whole, may be deeply naturalistic, rooted into what appears like “actual,” accessible imagery. However in Half II, she’s momentarily pulled to abandons that simplicity and goes for one thing extra visually disruptive and imaginative. I–it moved me! | The Memento Half II Pulls the Curtain Again on Rising Up and Making Films


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