At nearly 80, Agnès Varda explores her memory - growing up in Belgium, living in Sète, Paris, and Noirmoutier, discovering photography, making a film, being part of the New Wave, raising children with Jacques Demy, losing him, and growing old. She explores her memory using photographs, film clips, home movies, contemporary interviews, and set pieces she designs to capture a feeling, a time, or a frame. Shining through each scene are her impish charm, inventiveness, and natural empathy. How do people grow old, how does loss stay with them, can they remain creative, and what do they remember? Memory, she says, is like a swarm of confused flies. She envisions hers for us.Written by
"Maréchal nous voilà!
Music by André Montagnard and Charles Courtioux
Lyrics by André Montagnard
éditions musicales du Ver Luisant
(1941) See more »
Reminds you of the joys to be had with cinema
French New Wave film-maker and photographer Agnes Varda takes a look back at her life, her career, and her loves. She tells her story mostly to camera, now 80 years old - "a little old lady, pleasantly plump" - and is still full of life and wonder. She starts with her time studying art in Ecole du Louvre, the charms of the small town near Paris where she made her first film, her relationship with and love of fellow film- maker Jacques Demy, and the beginning of the French New Wave movement, and moves on to her re-location to and seduction by Hollywood, the hippy movement, her neo-Feminist views that influenced her films, and her move into photography. Most of all though, she reminisces about the eccentrics she encountered, and the photographs that immortalise her memories.
Varda seems extremely keen to cement these memories either by recording them on her ever-present video-camera, or by taking pictures. It is important to remember, it seems. She uses a number of different artistic techniques in the film. Her wonder and love of the beaches are evident at the beginning as she lays out a number of old photographs in the sand that blow in the wind, as she reminisces. She also lays out a number of mirrors facing all angles and directions, creating some fascinating images. Varda has a clear love for art, and sees it in everything she does. As she watches a man gaze out to sea, she describes him as being like Ulysses. It is clear that it is Varda herself who is like Ulysses - life has been an epic journey for her, in which she has encountered many friends and characters, and the sea is like her life, vast and beautiful, but fading into the distance.
What is so joyous about the film is how wonderfully sentimental it is. It is not patronising or forceful by overplaying sad music or having Varda cry into the camera, but instead the beauty and the melancholy are in her words, and how she describes the first time she met Demy, or how she turned a run down alley full of empty picture frames and overhanging trees into a beautiful gateway. It is so beautifully sad yet ultimately uplifting. Varda is a wonderful and intelligent lady who's love of art and creativity shines through what appears to be a short woman with a strange haircut. Less a documentary, and more of an exploration of art, love and life seen through the eyes of a woman who has lived through the very heart of it. Lyrical, beautiful, and reminds you of the true joys to be found in cinema.
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