Varda by Jon – Part 4: Rue Daguerre

If Agnès Varda could be described as an observant person, that focus of perception would strike especially true for the neighborhood where she lived for most of her adult life: the Rue Daguerre in Paris. The early 70s were a relatively fallow period for Varda artistically...Fortunately a German production company reached out with an offer to let her make any kind of movie she wanted. Varda decided to make a movie within that community circle, with her focus on the shopkeepers of Rue Daguerre.

Masculin, Féminin (1966)

My Jean-Luc Godard education continues with Masculin, Féminin, his 1966 portrait of the youth culture in Paris in the months leading up to the 1965 presidential election. It's a flurry of different visual and aural ideas cut together and framed in a off-kilter documentary style whose purpose isn't anything like a straight narrative, but rather an empathetic if distanced view of the lives of the young men and women Godard found himself surrounded by in Paris.

Band of Outsiders (1964)

It's strange, but until watching Band of Outsiders my only exposure to Jean-Luc Godard was Breathless almost eight months earlier.  Kind of a long wait between films, especially after the wonderful taste Breathless left in my mouth, but that wait may have made my feelings toward Band of Outsiders a little sweeter than they would have been otherwise.

Breathless (1960)

Breathless may not have been the movie to "officially" kick off the French New Wave, but after its release there was little doubt it would be the standard bearer for the movement. Written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard based off a treatment by Francois Truffaut, Breathless leaps off the screen and tears into its story with a youthful exuberance that embraces its roots in American genre films while gleefully tearing apart the staid tenets of how those films are structured.

Varda by Jon – Part 3: Around Paris

In the supplemental materials for this box set, Martin Scorsese tells a story of being mildly intimidated by the presence of Agnès Varda who was visiting his film set. He was asked to tell which of her films was his favourite, and he stammered out Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962). Varda apparently lightly chided him, saying that's what everyone says. She has a point too, as when she passed in 2019, anyone reflecting on her importance as a filmmaker would usually cite this as the film to watch. Personally, I have regarded this film at a respectful distance, but I think on third viewing and with a lot of reading up, I'm ready to call this a film I enjoy.

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