It’s a rough sketch, Joanna Hogg’s first feature film, and just a faint indicator of her future brilliance (notably in her follow-up sophomore effort the 2010 film Archipelago)
Being transparent—I saw this before Archipelago and didn’t archive it, but then after seeing the brilliant 2010 sophomore effort film—I went back, watched it again and decided to call it a “Recommend”. There is just too much in common with Archipelago. It’s worthy of study
Awkward fighting in other rooms, one-sided phone calls- just like Archipelago. Ditto with how it is on vacation (this is in Tuscany).
A meditation on isolation. Or a person’s ability to connect- even with a friend
No plot- drinking, eating, observational. Hogg is a realist for sure. There are detailed nuances on her interaction that show you her journey Kathryn Worth’s Anna first shuts her bedroom door on the younger group (with Tom Hiddleston as her romantic intrigue), later she’s out with them, then comes full circle. Much of the film and performance is in body language- how she looks at Hiddleston, how closely they sit together, etc
She’s caught between worlds—she says she doesn’t smoke then does when he offers
Hogg hasn’t developed the photography (this is crudely shot- a student film) or gift for mise-en-scene composition yet. There is one strong shot — maybe two—one is 1-hour into the film with a door half-way open at the end of a hall. This shot is Ozu. There’s not much else here that is. They go right into a solid scene of a fight going on out of the camera’s purview with the others listening/overhearing at the pool
It’s bourgeois. Hogg is bourgeois but it’s a world that’s authentic. It feels like Antonioni—ennui—it also feels like this is what Bunuel was trying to lampoon, parody and take down. There’s a shot here of them walking along a road that is almost exactly like the reoccurring shot in Bunuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeois