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When artists D (Viv Albertine) and H (Liam Gillick) decide to sell the home that they have loved and lived in for two decades, they begin a difficult process of saying goodbye. The upheaval has caused anxieties to surface and D struggles to control the personal and creative aspects of her life with H. Dreams, memories and fears have all imprinted themselves on their home, which exists as a container for their lives and has played a pivotal role in their marriage. How will their relationship - and their art - exist without its confines?
A stark, challenging and multi-layered film, shot through with penetrative insight and rigorous integrity, this new, uncompromising work by Joanna Hogg (Archipelago, Unrelated) has secured her place at the vanguard of not just British but international arthouse cinema.
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The best thing I enjoyed about it was the jolly music at the start!
The FF button came in handy again.
This is a snapshot of the life of middle class artists, both of whom work from their home, in separate parts of the house, largely communicating by phone. The third and most powerful character in the film is, in fact, the home itself, a large, hard surfaced, door sliding set upon which the characters are portraying their own hard and soft surfaces, to themselves and each other.
At the outset, I had anticipated a film depicting the slow revelation of internal conflict between this couple, who were in the process of selling their beloved home - also the studio for their work - and moving elsewhere, in the manner of Joanna Hogg's previous films.
What I saw here, however, was how an intelligent, enlightened, artistic couple cope with loss and change and how that impacts on the couple's art and on the relationship with themselves and each other.
This film shows how we identify with our houses, particularly if we also work there. They become an extension of ourselves: the mother who keeps us safe and contained. It also demonstrates the conflict between the desire for something new and exhilarating, and our love and need of the familiar.
What was also fascinating, was how this couple managed their separateness and desire, while living and working together, one scene showing the female partner's masturbation and also the couple's lovemaking, all in the marital bed. It also shows how they managed their separate approaches to art and how they also came together on this.
On the whole, this film shows a slow unfurling of a couple's life in the midst of change. In this world of adoration of newness and of moving on, there are internal resistances to change and desire to stay with the familiar, depicted here in the couples anxiety that the house would be sold to someone who would not appreciate it as a special place, in the way it had been experienced by them.
In short, this is a film to stay with and think about in terms of the film's themes and how it resonates with our own emotion, choices, change and loss,
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