The Souvenir

The Souvenir ★★★★½

Could be a lost Marja-Liisa Vartio novel. Liked this a lot!

I imagine that detractors will hate the total lack of emotional clarity about the main relationship. Confident in its ambiguity, the film is not really interested in exploring or explaining what Julie sees in Anthony – it refuses to narrativize, just taking the situation at face value. There's a strong sense of grim inevitability present; maybe it's just the autobiographical nature shining through. It's more of a memory than an actively unfolding story.

This kind of approach does leave the film at the mercy of its craft – it's not the kind of thing that would be enjoyable to watch unless it was well made. Luckily, it is shot beautifully and has amazing, naturalistic performances, just enough compelling and interesting little details (loved the plushies), and some fantastic uses of music and voiceover.

It's a yes for me. So hyped to see the next part later this week!

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