Varda Par Agnès

January 15, 2020

If you’re reading this you are probably a person who really enjoys film. And in that case, this doc about movie making is for you. It’s by famed French film director Agnès Varda, and takes the form of an illustrated lecture intended to explain some of her work and, in the process, make film making come alive for us—the viewers.

This charming and approachable film is a semi-dramatized, autobiographical and auto-critical work using footage of her speaking at various events, with clips and playfully dramatized reconstructions looking back over her remarkable career. Varda talks about the three governing principles of film-making as “inspiration”, “creation” and “sharing”. What’s so stimulating is the way she gives each principle equal weight, discussing her formal decisions, such as editing with the same intensity and enthusiasm as her more existential motivations (she describes her 1965 summer bummer classic Le Bonheur as “a beautiful summer peach with a worm inside”).

Varda’s tone is intimate, friendly, and unpretentious. At 90 and dressed in her signature head-to-toe purple, she is lucid and funny, able to deconstruct her “failures” (such as 1995’s Robert De Niro-starring One Hundred and One Nights) as well as her successes. The film was sadly her swan song as she died of cancer on March 29, 2019.

“She makes the business of film-making seem as magically straightforward as writing words on a page. Two hours in this director’s company is a pleasure.” – The Guardian

France
French with English subtitles
Rated: PG
115 minutes
4 - 5:55 & 7 - 8:55

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