February 6, 6:30 pm (Opening Reception: 6pm) — Taylor Hall 203
Faces, Places / Agnès Varda, JR / 2017 / 113 min
Introduction: Erica Stein (Film, Vassar College)
Respondent: Laura Hughes (French, New York University)
With Faces, Places, 89-year-old powerhouse Agnès Varda teams with the world-famous young street artist JR to make a film as wide-ranging as it is personal, as fanciful as it is pointed. Setting off on French country roads to find subjects for JR’s trademark mural-size portrait photographs, the two artists focus on people generally outside of the spotlight: retired miners, factors workers, the wives of dockers, and farmers. Each encounter fills in another piece of an idiosyncratic portrait of modern-day France, as well as the evolving relationship between open-hearted Agnès Varda and mysterious JR. The give-and-take between Varda and JR plays out in a fascinating through-line devoted to Jean-Luc Godard, Varda’s old friend and sole surviving colleague of the French New Wave. But make no mistake: while the film is credited to both artists, Varda is definitely calling the shots. As ever, her montage is allusive, playful, rapid-fire, occasionally jarring—in short, totally in keeping with her singular way of thinking. Her generosity in sharing her life and thought with us deep into old age is a cause to rejoice. Faces, Places was nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Documentary of 2017.
This Tournées Film Festival is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S., the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (CNC), the French American Cultural Fund, Florence Gould Foundation and Highbrow Entertainment.
The festival is cosponsored by the Department of Film, the Women’s Studies Program, the Dean of Faculty and the VSA French Club.