Now in her eighties, Agnès Varda remains the world’s most youthful filmmaker. Her latest nonfiction film is an inspired collaboration with JR, the mysterious French street artist. Like many of Varda’s works, Faces Places is a kind of travelogue in which the wonder of each locale visited is only as potent as the populace whose existence affects it. Their plan is simple: Varda and JR roam from place to place in JR’s truck, which is decorated to resemble a camera. In each place they visit, they meet people — coal miners, cheese makers, a Herculean farmer — and JR creates immense monochromatic portraits of them. Our endearing duo then affixes these portraits to various edifices all over town, quite literally, merging faces with places.
The landscape Varda and JR traverse becomes a visual record of their encounters. Among Faces Places’ most amusing refrains is Varda’s annoyance at JR’s refusal to remove his sunglasses, which she says reminds her of Jean-Luc Godard in the ’60s. The contrast between Varda’s French New Wave cohort, who represents her six-decade legacy, and JR, who embodies her vibrant present, speaks volumes about the scope of this amazing auteur’s durability and persistence of vision. “What emerges from them, and from the relationship between the 88-year-old filmmaker and the thirty-something photographer, is a poignant meditation on everything from self-revelation in the age of the selfie to change in rural France. This rich cross-generational exchange speaks to the persistence of French cinematic culture – Varda’s relationship with the pioneering filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard is a recurring theme – while the doc itself is a delight, subtle, touching and entertaining.” –The Globe and Mail
“Agnes Varda is almost 90 years old and she is still making films. That alone should be cause for dancing in the streets. But wait, there’s more: Agnes Varda is almost 90 years old and she is still making fantastic films. Searching, compassionate, provocative, funny, sad ones. This is one of them. You should see it, and then go dancing in the streets.” RogerEbert.com
Faces Places FRANCE, 2017 French w/ English subtitles 89 minutes Cert PG
$8 Youth, aged under 18 years
$9 with Film Buff card
All prices include HST