Varda by Jon – Part 7: Her Body, Herself

Didacticism in art can be tricky to pull off well. You can have a band like Rage Against the Machine, whose politics are notoriously and very obviously left-wing, get co-opted by their political opponents who can’t see the irony in their choices. Even successfully didactic art is subject to taste, because some people don’t find a lecture all that inspiring. While the ideal balance between art and education isn’t always the same for every project, it does need to be considered. This week’s batch of movies finds Agnès Varda, no stranger to directness, pushing that balance in interesting ways.

Varda by Jon – Part 6: In California

For all of the struggles that Agnès Varda would experience with the Hollywood establishment in the context of her career as a filmmaker, she never let those experiences go to waste. Indeed, the majority of her “California” work was produced over a couple of trips, one in 1968 and another in 1979, and was borne out of professional and even personal challenges. The first trip in 1968 saw Varda trying to get a film project off the ground while her husband Jacques Demy similarly was attempting his own Hollywood breakthrough. The second trip in 1979 saw Varda set out by herself (and her son) on a film project that would almost immediately collapse.

Varda by Jon – Part 5: Married Life

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.

2020 Movies Jon Liked

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.

Episode 15 – Powell and Pressburger

On this episode of Cinema Dual, Jon and Chris talk about the filmmaking pair of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Movies Discussed: I Know Where I'm Going, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp Recommendations : A Canterbury Tale, A Matter of Life and Death (Chris), 49th Parralel (Jon) GREAT NEWS: We have a real... Continue Reading →

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.

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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