Faces Places

Starring Agnès Varda and JR
Directed by Agnès Varda and JR
France 2017
89 mins

2019 is our tenth year as a film club. To mark this we are screening a movie that may have gone under your radar from every year that we have been operating.

Now we have reached 2017 and we turn to the penultimate film by Agnès Varda - 'Visages,villages' (English title 'Places Faces'). This exquisite documentary follows a journey she made around France with the contemporary artist JR, exploring rural communities and creating portraits of the people they meet along the way.

Starting out as a photographer Varda became part of the New Wave of French filmmaking in the 1960s and came to prominence with her feature 'Cléo de 5 à 7' - an experimental work with a strongly feminist theme. She would go on to make over 20 movies - both fiction and documentary - describing her method as 'cinécriture' - writing on film. She believed that by combining the roles of cinematographer, screenwriter and director it would make for a more cohesive result.

In 'Faces Places' Varda and her collaborator JR make a distinctly odd couple whose different styles are somehow combined with wit, humour and generosity to produce a charming, thought-provoking road movie in which the passing of time and the changing rural societies of France are celebrated and remembered. The visuals are often astonishing - combining still photography, architecture and landscape in fascinating ways.

Agnès Varda died in March of this year at the age of 91 - her legacy is unique and as this wonderful film shows she produced great work right to the very end...