A relationship is pushed to the limits in Joanna Hogg‘s fascinating drama The Souvenir. Honor Swinton Byrne (daughter of Tilda Swinton) turns in a revelatory performance as a film student dealing with her unreliable boyfriend (Tom Burke) in the 1980s. This was one of the best films I saw at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but it’s also a film that’s not going to be for everyone. Watch The Souvenir trailer below.
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Almost all narrative films follow the same structure. A clear beginning, middle and end. A main storyline involving main characters. A problem or situation that must be worked out or resolved. There are very few deviations of this format, for two distinct reasons. One is that we’re accustomed to it – it’s all we’ve ever known. The other is that it works – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
So when a movie comes along that bucks the trend, shrugs off the norm, and unfolds in a different way, it can be quite jarring. Such is the case with Joanna Hogg’s transcendent The Souvenir. Hogg ignores a traditional narrative approach for a series of vignettes that make up a bigger picture. It works wonderfully – if you stick with it. But you need to prepare yourself for the long-haul.
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