The Souvenir (1)

We watched The Souvenir last night, a troubling, disturbing and emotionally claustrophobic film, which is said to be partly autobiographical, and which we found the more disturbing because so many of the characteristics of the main character, Anthony, replicate in strange detail the life of Nick Coker, a friend of ours who was so exactly as Anthony is in the film, handsome, but louche, at Cambridge and then the Courtauld Institute, always living and spending beyond his means, always pretending that he had a life in the secret service (it was never made clear if it was the British or Russian), was a heroin addict, and, as Anthony does in the film, died of a drug overdose in the gentleman’s lavatories of the Wallace Collection.

So, is this a question of art imitating life ? Is it just an accident ? I was long ago castigated by a writer for seeing a possible correspondence to a fictional character. But Coker created a mythology of himself and was a close friend of the filmmaker, Julien Temple. The coincidences are too great.


9 thoughts on “The Souvenir (1)

  1. Rupert Christiansen says:

    Did you notice the Christ’s Hospital coat? And the engravings by Peter Coker on the wall? And the film director at the dinner party who wants to make a great British musical – obviously Julien Temple, before he made Absolute beginners?

  2. marinavaizey says:

    from a basis of ignorance were they related. I am an admirer of Peter Coker the artist whose achievements seem to have disappeared from recent art histdory?

  3. edward chaney says:

    Yes, Nicholas was the son whose tragic death seems to have hastened his own… I look forward to watching what i’m sure is another fine film by Joanna Hogg but i hope it doesn’t encourage the feminist matriarchy to perceive modern man as even more hopelessly flawed than is already the case; it doesn’t seem to be having a very beneficial effect on the next generation… (I reviewed The Piano along these lines; Louis Male’s Damage is in its gender politix more ambivalent?)

  4. edward chaney says:

    Mal[l]e indeed, albeit based on the underrated novel of the same name by the feminine female Josephine Hart, the late Lady Saatchi’. The book’s motto was ‘Damaged people are dangerous. they know they can survive’ (which is surely related to the phenomenon of denial; viz Olivia Chaney, The Longest River…).

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