VTIFF Presents: Academy Award nominee Faces Places + Uncle Yanco (short)
Thu, Feb 22 at 7pm
VTIFF Presents: Two films by Agnès Varda
Host sponsor - Main Street Landing
Faces Places (Visages, villages)
Directed by Agnès Varda & JR
France ⎮ 2017 ⎮ Hybrid Doc ⎮ 89 min ⎮ French w/English subtitles
Nominated for the 2018 Academy Awards in the Best Documentary category
Directed by Agnès Varda
USA | Documentary ⎮ 19 mins ⎮ 1967 | French w/English subtitles
Back by popular demand! The opening-night film of VTIFF 2017 — and the odds-on favorite to win Best Documentary Feature at next month’s Oscars — FACES PLACES follows 89-year-old filmmaker Agnès Varda and 34-year-old visual artist JR as they travel the French countryside seeking subjects for JR’s large-format outdoor photographic art installations. While the film’s off-the-cuff road-movie format humorously downplays its philosophical musings about the state of the working-class French population, its hybrid aesthetic speaks to the power of cinema as a unifier of multiple art forms.
As an added bonus, we’re pleased to pair the encore screening of Faces Places with Varda’s seldom-seen UNCLE YANCO (1967), a 19-minute documentary about her Greek relative living in a bohemian art enclave in Sausalito, Calif. Not only does the short film evoke fascinating comparisons to the interviews in Faces Places, but it also provides a thumbnail sketch of Varda’s earlier work as a member of the so-called Left Bank group of the French New Wave.
In Faces Places, the spirit of the most influential New Wave auteur, Jean-Luc Godard, is omnipresent, from a visual homage to his 1964 film Band of Outsiders to the ultra-cool presence of JR, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the young Godard. But Varda’s first film, La Pointe Courte (1955), was a precursor to the New Wave movement, and her early work was clearly an influence on Godard, who wrote in a 1959 Cahiers du Cinéma article that Varda’s short films “shine like tiny jewels.” At the same time, Uncle Yanco clearly shows Godard’s subsequent influence on Varda, from its free-form editing and narration to its vibrant use of color, à la Pierrot le Fou.
It’s only fitting, then, that a poignant moment in Faces Places centers on a planned meeting between Varda and Godard — two artists whose lives and careers intersected in complex and symbiotic ways. ~ LB