Directed by Joanna Hogg
An intimate examination of a contemporary artist couple, whose living and working patterns are threatened by the imminent sale of their home.
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★★★★ review by Josiah Morgan on Letterboxd
Lovely little film examining fragility and sterility, one mind-boggling shot at a time. Hogg simply observes for almost two hours, never interrupting the flow of naturalism and concision within her work - nothing lasts too long but we have enough time to survey each image entirely. One perspective-altering shot right near the beginning is a static shot as a woman draws her own face whilst looking at a two sided mirror, we see the shot from the front as the second side of the mirror reflects abstractions of space and area, motion bouncing every which way. Communication is a foreign object to these characters but intimacy is something they're all too aware of, consistently forced to acknowledge another's presence without wanting to. This is so insular that those rare (and stunning) exterior shots feel like invasions of a privacy we haven't interrupted, and it is this insular nature that makes the film so incredible... we are voyeurs on a story that didn't want to be told.
★★★★ review by Tee Emm on Letterboxd
A fascinating and stark scrutiny of an artist couple's marriage and and it's relationship within the walls it has occupied for the past 18 years.
Hogg's film is at times voyeuristic and uncomfortable to watch. Punctuated by the everyday sounds of urban life rather than reliance on dialogue, when the couple do speak the awkward gaps in their conversations seem more important than the words they use. The intimate portrayal of the couple's lacking sex life is also uncomfortable viewing, perhaps all the more as it is portrayed by non professional actors. Ultimately, though, I found this minimalist exploration into the human psyche and our connections to our space a compelling work of art.
★★★★½ review by Michael's Cinema Paradiso on Letterboxd
Afterthoughts: Joanna Hogg (after seeing her 2010 film, Archipelago, last year) instantly became a filmmaker I became extremely interested in. And now, after Exhibition, I think she just might have become my favourite female filmmaker. I REALLY need to get my hands on Unrelated (2007), which sadly might be quite difficult, and I’m suddenly immensely excited for The Souvenir: Part I.
Based on what I’ve seen from the two Hogg films I’ve watched, her ultra-minimalist social realist approach will not be for everyone, nor will the simplicity of the filmmaking, which in my opinion, features absolutely stunning static camera cinematography (I think I counted 3, 4 or maybe 5 shots in which the camera moved).
If I were to make a feature film, this is the approach I would take - where actors have an idea of their character and the scenario, but improvise their dialogue and bring their own idiosyncrasies to the role.
Exhibition is an extremely authentic look at how artists coexist in a household, in relationships and in society, and while the entire film consists mostly of small talk conversations and characters carrying out menial tasks and working on their fascinating art, which to most people would be very boring, it’s actually one of the most interesting films I’ve ever seen.
These characters don’t need a plot or melodramatic story moments forced upon them, because they feel so real that they’re far too interesting to be limited to the confines of a conventional narrative.
Can’t wait to hunt Unrelated down!
★★★★★ review by Rose Miller on Letterboxd
Non-actors Viv Albertine (of The Slits) and Turner-nominated Liam Gillick play a successful artist couple living in a fortress-like modernist London flat. The flat becomes the stage for their marital sexual dysfunction as we witness the slowly and almost silently played out aftermath to some undisclosed event. This is the just kind of acting I enjoy the most - natural pace and dialogue. So often when art and artists are portrayed in narrative film it feels like caricatures of art and artists. Not in this film. The discussions of their art practice seemed real and believable. And so does their faltering relationship as they endeavour to connect on an intimate level, trying to find ways to heal and move on from whatever caused the hiccup in their lives.
★★★★★ review by Eric Cloutier on Letterboxd
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