The Souvenir

The Souvenir Part II

classified 18 (CTBA)

BFI London Film Festival 2021

Film

Please note: This was screened in Oct 2021

Director
Joanna Hogg
Cast
Tilda Swinton, Richard Ayoade, Joe Alwyn
Details
106 mins, 2021, UK USA
Primary language
English

Joanna Hogg’s glorious follow up to The Souvenir sees Honor Swinton Byrne returning as Julie for this rich autofictional portrait of the birth of a filmmaker.

Picking up where the first film left off, a devastated Julie mourns the death of her lover and the discovery of his secret life. She’s returned to her parents’ home to grieve – Hogg again emphatically demonstrating that no filmmaker can better illuminate a depth of subtext in middle-class English reserve. Julie is also under pressure to start her film school graduation project, drawing on her recent grief and workshopping with actors to fully develop the story. The Souvenir was always conceived in two parts, and it’s such a pleasure to return to Hogg’s pitch-perfect evocation of 1980s Britain, with another superb soundtrack and vintage store-cool stylings from costume designer Grace Snell.

With unexpected humour and more expressive set pieces in Julie’s film-within-a-film, Hogg also adds new notes here, and works with an exceptional cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Jaygann Ayeh, Harris Dickinson, Ariane Labed and Richard Ayoade. An impeccable film from one of the UK’s finest directors – bittersweet, rich with Hogg’s typically incisive understanding of people and filled with moments of joy.