Filmmaker and photographer Joanna Hogg probes the pangs of artistic creation


D., interpreted by Viv Albertine, guitarist of the British punk rock group The Slits, in


If we had to sum up in a few – necessarily simplistic – words the work of Joanna Hogg, British director and photographer, born in London in 1960, we could say that she has devoted most of her work to capturing the life of a woman as a genre film. In an autofictional vein, she explores, like a painter, different “periods”: the film student seeking her way (The Souvenir. Part I & II, in 2019 and in 2021); the childless 40-year-old going through an identity crisis (Unrelated, in 2007) ; the filmmaker linked to her aging mother by ghost stories (Eternal Daughterreleased on March 22, with Tilda Swinton), or the visual artist plunged into the throes of creation, seeking her place and her space (mental, spatial) alongside her husband, also a contemporary artist.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The Center Pompidou dedicates a retrospective to British filmmaker Joanna Hogg

For those who would have missed the retrospective of the filmmaker’s films, at the Center Pompidou, in Paris (from March 16 to 20), remains the theatrical release, Wednesday March 29, of his first three feature films, Unrelated (2007), Archipelago (2010) and exhibition (2013) – distributed by Condor. In the palette of female portraits, Archipelago is a bit of an exception, probing the suffocation within a bourgeois family, through the eyes of a male character, this time, who branches off towards humanitarianism as if to formalize his difference.

It is thus by successive touches, and with a remarkable precision of staging, that the filmmaker tells the social gap separating Edward (Tom Hiddleston) from the cook hired for the holidays, that the thirty-year-old tries clumsily to fill. Joanna Hogg also makes palpable, to the point of discomfort, the shame of the young man, during a family meal in a restaurant, in front of the natural arrogance of his sister with the staff. The filmmaker plays with space as we explore the folds and folds of thought. In The Souvenir, the paper partitions are torn and reveal the artifice of the movie set.

Solo Tandem

In exhibition, these are the sliding doors of a contemporary dwelling, behind which a woman visual artist can hide, shelter herself from the eyes of her companion. Or transform, if she prefers, like a performer playing with her screen. The film features a couple of artists who have been married for a long time, a solitary tandem each occupying a floor in a London house with sumptuous lines, as if out of an architectural magazine: there is D., interpreted by Viv Albertine, guitarist by British punk rock band The Slits, and H., played by contemporary artist Liam Gillick.

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