Walking into the film is like entering a well documented room that is screaming for attention and regretting.
Hogg is a reserved person in here. The persona of the writer-director, Joanna Hogg factors incredibly in a film so personal as such. And I don’t mean just that it is derived from some real experience, but that it deals with something so personal for the characters too, that it doesn’t, they don’t even let you in. You remain a part of an audience throughout this journey. And on a larger scale, this might act as a double edged sword as not everyone would respond to such a formal invitation- if there is any. But the art form remains a mystery to be solved. And what the film made me feel makes me not to understand but just remember it. This is one of those experiences that will stay with you.
And the reason behind it, is Hogg’s deeply religious virtue on deconstructing the romanticized version of itself. First, I thought she has unromanticized the genre by never agreeing to anything which happens to be the theme. No character, no surroundings, no situation, no philosophy, nothing seems to agree. Not even my favourite part of the narration that is the musical sequences that every now and then pops up, just like Julie’s (Honor Swinton Byrne) reads. I never felt the love between the lead couple despite an excellent performance.
If anything, their equation seemed a dry rough patch persisting to heal as each of them tries to stay in one room and just be present. No spark just a warm soothing feeling that could actually be any relationship and not particularly just a romantic one. For a world so sane and sensible, Hogg flipped the coming-of-age genre through new lenses marking the first creatively fresh film I saw claiming this genre. The Souvenir speaks most of the time through the physicality present in nature, she says, she cries, she reads, should be accounted in for theatricality.