In winter in the south of France, a young woman is found frozen in a ditch. She's unkempt, a vagabond. Through flashbacks and brief interviews, we trace her final weeks as she camps alone ... See full summary »
This movie shows us Cléo, a French singer, who is afraid of getting the result of a test from her doctor. She believes that she has cancer and will die of the disease. We follow her for two... See full summary »
There are two parts to this film: sequences of life in the fishing village of La Pointe Courte (a government inspector's visit, the death of a child) alternate with others following a ... See full summary »
Jacquot Demy is a little boy at the end of the thirties. His father owns a garage and his mother is a hairdresser. The whole family lives happily and likes to sing and to go to the movies. ... See full summary »
An intimate, picaresque inquiry into French life as lived by the country's poor and its provident, as well as by the film's own director, Agnes Varda. The aesthetic, political and moral ... See full summary »
Mary-Jane asks, "Do all women fall in love with a boy, or just those without sons?" She's divorced with two daughters, Lucy and Loulou. Lucy has a party where Mary-Jane notices Julien, 14, ... See full summary »
A subtitle warns, "Beware of dark sunglasses." Anna and her lover, whose looks in bowler and bow tie are reminiscent of a young Buster Keaton, kiss chastely on a bridge overlooking the ... See full summary »
This is in a format I wish we would get more of, the cinematic portrait. Marker and Godard would work out examples in a few years time, several of Herzog's work are portraits. The added benefit with these is that, while we're still looking for life, they don't have to step through the structured formalities of drama to get to the person, the format permits an improvised reach, one of a few formats that do.
But someone still has to pose for them and a filmmaker has to take it down with his brush, apply colors. This is uneven in both respects. One reason why lies in a fundamental mismatch I perceive here. It's actress Jane Birkin posing for Varda; Birkin is outgoing, sad or lonely in the mannered way of someone accustomed to the presence of a camera, used to grooming a self. But Varda is drawn to the enigmas of ragged women, introverts or haunted in some way, or at any rate does her best work in the whirl of what is not fully controlled.
Here we get various enactments, Birkin as Tarzan's Jane or Joan of Arc, in a picnic with her French idol, coteries of costumed people enacting tableaux, poses for the camera and blathering vignettes. But at so few points do we pierce through cute play-acting to get the elusive stuff that life is made of, at something not rehearsed because a camera will film it, ending up with the equivalent of a surreal magazine spread on a known face. So when it sorts itself out, it's less than the sum of its colors, merely a face.
A miss. Still, Varda manages to come up with flashes of inspiration in all this, she's always adept with pouring images, stirring flows of them. Above all the whole segment of Birkin rehearsing with Serge Gainsbourg - Birkin's ex-lover - is a small gem of intricately edited resonance, the only instance where Varda can hint at something on the other side of images.
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