Agnes Varda

Agnes Varda

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Unifrance and The French Consulat of Los Angeles Host a Brunch in Honor of the 2013 AFI Film Fest French Filamkers

Agnes Varda, Shirley Moirin and Guest - Unifrance and The French Consulat of Los Angeles Host a Brunch in Honor of the 2013 AFI Film Fest French Filamkers - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Monday 11th November 2013

Agnes Varda
Agnes Varda and Consul General of France M. Axel Cruau
Agnes Varda and Jacqueline Lyanga
Consul General of France M. Axel Cruau and Agnes Varda
Asghar Farhadi, Agnes Varda and Rithy Panh

Picture - Agnes Varda , Wednesday 23rd May 2012

Agnes Varda Wednesday 23rd May 2012 'Holy Motors' premiere during the 65th Cannes Film Festival

The Beaches of Agnes [Les Plages d'Agnes] Review


Excellent
Varda brings a playful attitude to this whimsical stroll through her life, telling stories and showing photos and clips that chronicle both her career and her personal life. It meanders a bit, but it's also thoroughly engaging.

As she celebrates her 80th birthday, the iconic French filmmaker compiles an impressionistic collage of photographs, home movies, new scenes and clips from the classic films she had a hand in. She recounts her career alongside Godard and the Nouvelle Vague, and links her memories together with beaches from near her birthplace in Belgium to Los Angeles by way of Cuba and Cannes. She also installs a beach on a Paris street, occupied by female members of her staff.

Continue reading: The Beaches of Agnes [Les Plages d'Agnes] Review

Vagabond Review


Excellent
The English title of Agnès Varda's 1985 masterpiece is accurate enough: The film tells the story of Mona (Sandrine Bonnaire), a young homeless woman who wanders the French countryside during the course of one winter, scrounging for food and shelter before she freezes to death in a ditch. But I prefer the French title, "Without Roof or Rule," because it better encapsulates what Varda successfully does: provide a sort of essay about the meaning of freedom, not just a film about aimless roving. Mona's free-spiritedness has a seductive quality - she seems to generate envy in just about everybody who crosses her path. But Varda powerfully shows how there's an inherent brutality to living without rules, and she does it without ever devolving into melodrama or didacticism.

Mona isn't a particularly likeable heroine. Wearing a perpetual smirk and constantly angling for a sandwich or a handout, Bonnaire's portrayal is downright feral, as if she's gotten to the core of basic human need. And she sadly devolves into the occasional act of self-degradation like sleeping with men for shelter. But she has a snotty, punkish character that makes her compelling to watch - and appealing to the people who cross her path. The brilliance of Vagabond is that while it's essentially a film about poverty, Mona collapses class distinctions. She works in a vineyard with other poor laborers, but she also lives large in a chateau and gets taken in by a well-to-do professor. In brief faux interviews interspersed in the film, people who've met her reminisce about how much more interesting their lives became because Mona was briefly part of it.

Continue reading: Vagabond Review

The Gleaners and I Review


OK
The Gleaners and I is an oddball project from the then-72-year-old French director Agnès Varda. While the film provides a fair amount of oft-fascinating interviews with and footage of the titular gleaners -- people who find food, art supplies, or just about anything else by scavenging other people's leftovers and crops left behind in fields -- the movie focuses far too much on the "I" in this equation. Varda is intrigued with her new, cheap digital video camera (on which the whole film is shot), and she uses it to capture shots of her wrinkly hands, accidental shots of the ground (with the lens cap swinging in the frame), and even images of the camera's instruction manual. What's this have to do with gleaning? You got me. Maybe it's a French thing.

Continue reading: The Gleaners and I Review

Vagabond Review


Excellent
The English title of Agnès Varda's 1985 masterpiece is accurate enough: The film tells the story of Mona (Sandrine Bonnaire), a young homeless woman who wanders the French countryside during the course of one winter, scrounging for food and shelter before she freezes to death in a ditch. But I prefer the French title, "Without Roof or Rule," because it better encapsulates what Varda successfully does: provide a sort of essay about the meaning of freedom, not just a film about aimless roving. Mona's free-spiritedness has a seductive quality - she seems to generate envy in just about everybody who crosses her path. But Varda powerfully shows how there's an inherent brutality to living without rules, and she does it without ever devolving into melodrama or didacticism.

Mona isn't a particularly likeable heroine. Wearing a perpetual smirk and constantly angling for a sandwich or a handout, Bonnaire's portrayal is downright feral, as if she's gotten to the core of basic human need. And she sadly devolves into the occasional act of self-degradation like sleeping with men for shelter. But she has a snotty, punkish character that makes her compelling to watch - and appealing to the people who cross her path. The brilliance of Vagabond is that while it's essentially a film about poverty, Mona collapses class distinctions. She works in a vineyard with other poor laborers, but she also lives large in a chateau and gets taken in by a well-to-do professor. In brief faux interviews interspersed in the film, people who've met her reminisce about how much more interesting their lives became because Mona was briefly part of it.

Continue reading: Vagabond Review

Cleo From 5 To 7 Review


Excellent
It's almost a film about nothing, with French chanteuse Cléo (Corinne Marchand) spending 90 minutes (not quite the 2 hours in the title) wandering around Paris before she gets the results of a medical test which will confirm whether or not she has cancer. Cléo spends the time exactly how we'd expect from a diva: going to a fortuneteller, running an errand with a friend, playing her latest song on a cafe jukebox and hoping someone will recognize her. She gets no pity from her friends -- only a stranger in the park seems to offer much consolation. And in the end, Cléo has figured out how to face an uncertain future.

Told in real time, Agnès Varda's film has tons of heart and brains to match. You can watch it as a tourist, just bouncing along with Cléo on her ride... or you can watch it as Cléo, and live in her shoes for awhile.

Continue reading: Cleo From 5 To 7 Review

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