While in San Francisco for the promotion of her last film in October 1967, Agnès Varda, tipped by her friend Tom Luddy, gets to know a relative she had never heard of before, Jean Varda, ... See full summary »
Monsieur Cinema, a hundred years old, lives alone in a large villa. His memories fade away, so he engages a young woman to tell him stories about all the movies ever made. Also a line of ... See full summary »
"I'll look at you, but not at the camera. It could be a trap," whispers Jane Birkin shyly into Agnès Varda's ear at the start of JANE B. PAR AGNES V. The director of CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 and ... See full summary »
I've been deeply impressed by earlier work by Varda; when this happens with me the filmmaker's whole journey becomes a lifelong project. I have several of these running, open-ended affairs with creative, alert souls who I know I can always turn to for a far- reaching view.
This is a small snapshot, but no less part of the journey. It's among a few political films she did at the same time as Godard and others, with Vietnam booming in the distance.
It's a look at a rally party of the Black Panthers at the time of Huey Newton's trial for the murder of a policeman, but there's nothing more they can offer Varda's camera than sloganeering and Varda had no more time to devote into it, perhaps not the inclination to probe more and inquire. Possibly she was interested in no more than this glimpse in passing.
It says something that she was there of course, yet she also makes it a point to ask some of the rapt faces if they know Huey didn't do it; they don't, but they're fervent just the same, it's all part of a war being waged on them, Huey is a prisoner of that war, he must go free, or else.
There's a much more sobering history prior to and as we move away from that day, based on what little I know; the obsession with territory and tribal law, and on the other hand police abuse and a youthful life without prospects that would turn Southcentral LA into Beirut, but you have to remind yourself that this is all simmering behind the ideology and parades, the image barely able to contain a life that would soon spill from it.
Politics are thin, but maybe it is all here anyway for you to deepen? Politics aside, the glimpse is worthwhile. It's a day in that life, that place, that furor about injustice.
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