Joanna Hogg • United Kingdom • 2010 • A subtle critique of the manners of the British upper class.
A family gathers on the remote island of Tresco, off the southwestern coast of England. Amid this rugged landscape the matriarch, Patricia, takes lessons from local painter Christopher, while bidding farewell to her young son Edward, who will imminently depart for an indistinct social mission in Africa. Edward’s sister Cynthia, older and unsparing, is in attendance, too. Tensions lurk in quotidian gestures within the family’s picturesque cottage.
Artfully framing its characters in wide-shot tableaux while offering a subtle critique of the manners of the British upper class, Archipelago observes hidden jealousies and quiet self-sacrifices as a family unravels. Joanna Hogg’s second film premiered at Thessaloniki, Busan, and BFI London, where it won a Special Commendation. Archipelago is a New York Times Critic's Pick.