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Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Current Cinema - John Conomos is enthralled by Agnes Varda's VISAGES VILLAGES/FACES PLACES (France, 2017)

Saw tonight Agnes Varda's and JR's Faces Places.  An extraordinary documentary collaboration between the French New Wave veteran filmmaker Varda and the young photographer-muralist JR . 


JR, Agnes Varda, Faces Places
The film resonates along a number of engaging horizons of autobiography, cinema , photography, installation, time and space. It is a film that is rich in its intricate historiographic resonances of the two twentieth camera - based art forms: cinema and photography, The shots of Varda visiting Cartier-Bresson's grave are tour-de-force compositions as are the wind ravaged beach scenes in Normandy with Varda discussing her past friendships and not afraid of dying, etc. 

It is a film that demands careful hermeneutic attention and , in my opinion, important also for the unexpected cruel conclusion of Godard not greeting her at his home in Rolle after making the effort to meet him with JR. As she sadly puts it at Godard's doorstep, thanks for the memories but no thanks for hospitality. She is completely devastated, in a heap, as she reads Godard's cryptic note on the door's adjoining window. One may speculate why their friendship over the years has frayed to virtual no contact these days. JR's uncanny sunglass looks to Godard's is another enigmatic possibility of the Godard snub, etc. 

It is a very complex story between Godard , Demy and Varda that has accrued by now, over the decades, many different implications . Again, not least, Faces Places is further evidence of Varda's artistry in the last two decades, from The Gleaners and I  (France, 2000) and onwards, of taking flight with dazzling spectatorial enrichment .

(Reposted from John's  Facebook page  )

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