On Display

Joanna Hogg, NYC, 6/19/20

Joanna Hogg, NYC, 6/19/14

In British filmmaker and screenwriter Joanna’s Hogg’s third feature, “Exhibition,” a middle-aged artist couple, D and H (Viv Albertine and Liam Gillick), live in an elegant modernist house in London–to which they’re possibly more attached than to each other.   She’s struggling with her work (he has a much bigger career), her decision not to have had children and fear of the future if they sell the house.

Another  middle-aged, childless woman, Anna (Kathryn Worth), dissatisfied with her life and marriage, travels to Tuscany alone to spend her summer holiday with old friends in a beautiful villa in the countryside near Siena.  In Hogg’s first feature, “Unrelated,” character-driven, as is all of her work, Anna finds herself drawn to her friends’ teenage/young adult children, particularly Oakley (Tom Hiddleston).

And in Hogg’s “Archipelago,” a family vacationing on the spectacular island of Tresco off Sicily, falls into its usual patterns.  The son (Tom Hiddleston), discontented and in conflict with his mother (Kate Fahy) and sister (Lydia Leonard), is “at a crossroads in his life.”

Photographing someone is license to stare.  And the intimate framing, with a long lens, coming in close, seeing just from the top of the head to below the collarbone, is only experienced in real life when someone is about to kiss or punch someone.

And it’s often license to ask fascinating people about their work.  Having been amazed by all three of Joanna Hogg’s features, I’m eager to see her next film.  She said it’s about a young woman, a 19-year-old film student, who gets distracted from her work when she gets involved with a somewhat older boyfriend.

Asked about casting, Joanna said she planned to find someone new and that discovering young actors (she famously was the first to work with Tom Hiddleston–who appears in all three of her films) is one of her favorite aspects of filmmaking.

“Exhibition” opens today in New York for a two-week run at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunim Munroe Film Center.  Joanna Hogg will be in person for a Q&A at the 6:30 pm screening and an intro at the 9:30 pm screening on both Friday and Saturday. “Unrelated and “Archipelago” will both open at Film Society on Friday, June 27 for a one-week run.

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