the Joanna Hogg
British film, 1:36
A road in the English countryside, patches of mist and a white taxi stopping at night in front of a sinister mansion transformed into a hotel: from the first images of the film, director Joanna Hogg deliberately immerses us in the atmosphere of a Gothic novel that marvelously suits this film of ghosts.
However, there is nothing worrying a priori in this story of a mother and daughter who came to celebrate the birthday of the first in a house that once belonged to their family. Except for the few clues sown by the filmmaker, queen of pretense, to instill unease.
An original autobiographical approach
And first the same actress, Tilda Swinton, to play both roles; the apparent absence of any other customer in the establishment, and this strange detachment shown by the old lady who, as soon as she goes to bed, plunges into a sleep as deep as death. His daughter, director, wants to take advantage of it to work on her next film centered on… her mother, and is having a hard time finding inspiration.
The doors bang, the dog disappears, a familiar silhouette stands out at night behind a window in the annex and plunges her into a form of unease. Just like this feeling of never being up to the expectations of its parent, which culminates during an icy festive meal.
Those who have seen The Souvenir I & II, Joanna Hogg’s previous two-part film, will not be surprised by the film’s atmosphere. She pursues an original autobiographical approach and practices a fascinating mise en abyme on her profession. If her story takes a bit of time to unfold and makes its outcome too predictable, the British filmmaker, to whom the Center Pompidou has just paid tribute, signs a magnificent film on mother-daughter relationships, mourning and guilt.
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