In the intro to Part 12 of this series, having just seen the trailer for The Matrix: Resurrections, I asked what it meant for Lana Wachowski to return to that series. The answer, explicitly stated in the film, was that Warner Bros was going to make another Matrix with or without her, and under those conditions, Wachowski signed on. I’m almost completely sure that no one was threatening Agnès Varda to make her own biopic without her involvement, but the first thing she clearly states at the beginning of The Beaches of Agnès (2008), is that she is playing a role of a person telling her own life story, but that it’s other people that interest her. The challenge of the project becomes how to reconcile these competing impulses.
One of my favourite cinematic surprises of 2020 was the documentary Dick Johnson is Dead. Director Kirsten Johnson, as a means of processing the deterioration of her father's health and eventual passing, sets up several mostly fantastical scenarios in which Dick might die. Dick himself seems game to have some fun, demonstrating the trust, respect and love the filmmaker and subject have for each other. The film is alternately silly and painful as you track Johnson’s emotional journey through the process. This brings us to the complicated relationship between Agnès Varda and Jacques Demy.