1 December 2023

Rosalind (Tilda Swinton) in


A year ago, spectators discovered Joanna Hogg’s cinema as one opens an album, with the intimate The Souvenir. Part I & Part II (2022). In this diptych, the director and photographer, born in London in 1960, revisited her life as a student and her emergence as an artist. Twenty-something Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) suffers from her destabilizing relationship with her lover. His mother (Tilda Swinton), a lady of elegance so british, appears as a refuge: Julie comes to put down her suitcases with her parents, while she reconstructs herself and replays her story over and over again, which she will make the material for her first film.

Without being a third part of The Souvenir, Eternal Daughter, sixth feature film by Joanna Hogg, to which the Center Pompidou in Paris has just devoted a retrospective, propels, thirty years later, Julie and her mother. But, here, the two characters are embodied by Tilda Swinton: it is an idea of ​​the actress, childhood friend of Joanna Hogg, who seized the ball at the leap, the filmmaker venturing on this dizzying terrain and inevitably creative.

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

Deceptively routine scenario

So here is Julie, in her fifties with a gentle gaze, and her mother Rosalind, serrated white hair, wearing the same bottle green dress as in The Souvenir. The two women come to spend a few days in a hotel lost in the English countryside, similar to a mansion, where Rosalind lived in the past. Julie prepares a film about her mother, discreetly records their conversations in her smartphone, while feeling a little guilty.

The story thickens as Tilda Swinton’s acting, combined with the editing, suggests other space-times and lets in ghosts

At night, the windows bang, Julie hardly sleeps. His wanderings in the blue-green corridors summon shining (1980), by Kubrick, but it is in the form that we are caught EternalDaughter, film with two characters and a single body, shot in 16 millimeters. In False pretenses (1988), the story of twins both played by Jeremy Irons, David Cronenberg had used special effects to embed the tandem on the screen. Joanna Hogg films the daughter and the mother alternately, in a succession of shots, reverse shots. An idea which, from the outset, introduces mystery into the scenario, falsely routine.

Rosalind and Julie talk, eat their meals, the mother swallows her pills, the daughter takes great care, goes to walk the dog, etc. The camera passes from one to the other, and the spectator, never seeing the two women occupying the same room together – except during a furtive shot, where Rosalind appears a little blurred –, can invent stories . There is this magic plan, where the face of the receptionist (Carly-Sophia Davies) is reflected in her pocket mirror, as if to spy on Julie. The story thickens as Tilda Swinton’s acting, combined with the editing, suggests other space-times and lets in ghosts.

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