Cannes: Tilda Swinton Lent Her Real ’80s Clothes to Her Daughter for ‘The Souvenir Part II’

Cannes: Tilda Swinton Lent Her Real ’80s Clothes to Her Daughter for ‘The Souvenir Part II’

July 8, 2021

The Cannes Film Festival isn’t known for launching sequels. But on Thursday morning, Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir Part II” held its first screening as part of the Directors’ Fortnight lineup. The semi-autobiographical film is a continuation of the 2019 Sundance darling that follows Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) in the days after the tragic outcome of a relationship, as she takes comfort from her mother Rosalind (played by Tilda Swinton, in fact Swinton Byrne’s real mother) and directs a student film — called “The Souvenir” — based on her grief.

“It was always intended to be one piece of work in two films,” Hogg said in a Q&A after the screening.

Hogg revealed that she’d wanted to tell this story for years, based on a real romance from her youth, but she struggled because she’d never fully understood her ex-boyfriend. “I began to realize very slowly, I could do it from my point of view,” Hogg said. “The two parts have to coexist. One can’t be without the other. We can’t finish at the end of ‘Part I’ with a man who more or less manipulated a young woman and has taken away her voice. She had to regain her voice, so ‘Part II’ is essential.”

For Swinton, “The Souvenir Part II” is the first of her five movies to premiere at this year’s Cannes. The actor, who donned a mask (when she wasn’t speaking onstage) and a floral cape, recalled how the ’80s setting the film made it feel autobiographical for her too.

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“I had the honor to have been alongside Joanna back in those days,” says Swinton, who starred in Hogg’s short film “Caprice” in 1986. “The graduation film that you see was in fact based on Joanna’s graduation film that I was in. When we shot that scene, Honor wore a lot of my clothes from that time. She wore the shoes in that scene that I had worn at the graduation presentation of that film. So, it was a trip!”

After the screening, Swinton lingered in the theater lobby, taking selfies with fans and holding her daughter in a long, loving embrace.

But she warned not to read too much into their onscreen relationship for clues about how they are in real life.

“I would suggest, if it doesn’t feel too tricky, it’s irrelevant that Honor and I are mother and daughter,” Swinton said. “It’s an autobiographical film about a family that’s actually not my family.”

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