TSP2021: The Souvenir Part II


OK, an explanation before we get started:

Almost a decade ago, I started a blog project to look at the brave new world of movie availability: It was the heyday of Netflix and people were going “oooh, ah, you can watch every movie now”. And I was rather sceptical, because… well, just because. But I wanted to check, so I thought would make sense to choose a famous actor and see whether all their films were available.

So I chose Tilda Swinton, because she seemed like she had good taste (from the few films of hers that I had seen).

Spoiler warnings: There’s lots of films that live on in obscurity, and you can’t watch. Still.

But I’ve been doing updates to the blog series, checking if somehow the future had arrived, about once a year. I forgot to last year, so I’ve got two years to catch up with, as well as checking all the previously missed films to see whether any of them are now available.

Makes sense? No, I know, but here we go with this film anyway.

I have to admit that I don’t recall what happened in Part I, except for… er… Tilda Swinton’s daughter apparently playing the part of director Joanna Hogg? Or something? Something very meta, at least.

But I do remember that I really enjoyed Part I.

The cinematography is very unusual — it looks like it was shot on film? (I mean, not on digital.) At least some of the scenes.

Or it could be digital, but then colour graded in … ways that aren’t usual. There’s also something about the graininess that looks real instead of simulated… but I guess anything is possible with digital these days.

Nice pants.

Hey! It’s Richard Ayoade! Playing a chain-smoking cool-as-fuck director! That’s typecasting for you.

This film is lovely. Less Éric Rohmerish than the first film (because it’s less unclear what the film is about), but it’s still quite Rohmerish.

So if this is about Joanna Hogg’s first movie (which I still haven’t seen), then they’re soon going to be casting somebody playing Tilda Swinton (who was in that movie)? IT”S SO META

On the other hand, it might not be that autobiographical at all.

I guess part of the fascination here is that this is an old-fashioned intellectual movie — the kind that used to rule art cinema, but has mostly disappeared now. If it’s art cinema these days, it’s something like, say, Titane or Caché, which are very different sort of things.

So meta.

Oh, are we getting the entire student movie? Caprice? (I mean, not the literal movie, but a new version of it?)

Hm… Oh! Caprice is now available on the youtubes! So I’m gonna watch it next.

This studentey film they’re pastiching here is quite studentey, so props for authenticity.

Great 80s music director outfit.

But… if this is supposed to be an 80s pop song, couldn’t they have chosen a singer who’s not autotuned? Are people deaf? That’s like anti-80s.

Authenticity fail!

It really is a lovely movie, and is the meta-est ever. That bit is so much fun; so playful.

But it’s not perfect. I think it kinda dragged in the middle bits.

The Souvenir Part II. Joanna Hogg. 2021.

This post is part of The Tilda Swinton Project.

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