The Souvenir Part II
Joanna Hogg’s follow-up to her 2019 Sundance-winning drama turns its attention to Julie’s budding film career, resulting in a euphoric ode to cinema.
The first part of Hogg’s loosely autobiographical tale ended with Julie (a mesmerising Honor Swinton-Byrne) grieving the loss of her boyfriend Anthony (Tom Burke). Part II opens with her back at film school, transforming her graduation project into a fictional account of her own recent experiences. Her parents (Tilda Swinton and James Spencer Ashworth) offer support, while her fellow students are sometimes confused by her motivations for her film. But to Julie, her writing and shooting are an attempt to find her way back into the world.
_The Souvenir Part II _is more playful than its predecessor. In the place of Anthony are a number of characters, played by Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton, Harris Dickinson and Joe Alwyn, while Ariane Labed and Jaygann Ash are excellent as her fellow students/crewmembers. Richard Ayoade returns as irascible, super-sized ego Patrick. But the film’s emotional core lies in Swinton-Byrne’s sensitive portrayal. And Hogg’s love of cinema, from Powell and Pressburger through to Derek Jarman is evident in Julie’s graduation project, a gorgeous paean to the power of the moving image.