Unless you’re talking bankable IP, it’s hard enough out there to get a sequel greenlit. But British filmmaker Joanna Hogg has achieved the near-impossible with the sequel to her 2019 quasi-autobiographical drama, “The Souvenir.” With raves out of Cannes and the New York Film Festival, “The Souvenir Part II” is upon us, picking right up where the first film left off with grieving filmmaker Julie Harte (Honor Swinton Byrne) picking up the pieces of a devastating relationship. Watch the trailer for the new film below.
Here’s the synopsis courtesy of A24: “In the aftermath of her tumultuous relationship with a charismatic and manipulative older man, Julie begins to untangle her fraught love for him in making her graduation film, sorting fact from his elaborately constructed fiction. Joanna Hogg’s shimmering story of first love and a young woman’s formative years, ‘The Souvenir Part II’ is a portrait of the artist that transcends the halting particulars of everyday life — a singular, alchemic mix of memoir and fantasy.”
Joining Swinton Byrne in the cast are Charlie Heaton, Harris Dickinson, Richard Ayoade (providing his scene-stealing role as a tantrum-prone director from the first film), Joe Alwyn, Harris Dickinson, and Ariane Labed. Tom Burke, in flashbacks and memory sequences, reprises the role of Julie’s former lover Anthony, whose absence leaves her with the unique opportunity to build a cinematic memorial. “Part II” unspools as a far more surreal journey, as fact and fiction begin to blur in Julie’s consciousness, and the results spill onto the screen — both in terms of the movie-within-the-movie and Hogg’s own film. Sounds confusing? Hogg weaves it all together seamlessly.
From IndieWire’s A- review out of the Cannes Film Festival: “We arrive at ‘The Souvenir Part II,’ an extraordinary work of meta-fiction which continues where the previous film left off, and subverts the fastidiousness of its construction to illuminate why Hogg felt the need to make it in the first place. As vulnerable as its predecessor and textured with the same velvet sense of becoming, ‘Part II’ adds new layers of depth and distance to the looking glass of Hogg’s self-reflection, as it follows Julie through the fraught process of making her graduation film… a short which just so happens to be the tragic story of a 25-year-old London girl’s relationship with an older heroic addict.”
A24 opens the film stateside on October 29.