Sunday April 22nd 4:45 PM
Director: JR, Agnès Varda
With: JR, Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard
Runtime: 89 minutes
Language: French with English subtitles
Academy Award Nomination: Best Documentary Feature; Independent Spirit Awards/Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards/National Society of Film Critics Awards: Best Documentary Feature; Toronto International Film Festival: People’s Choice Award; 28 other awards, 31 other nominations.
“Faces Places” is a film of sheer joy, its exuberance surpassed only by its tenderness and purity of purpose.”—Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
One can exhaust a thesaurus trying to find new words to describe Faces Places. Suffice it to say that this collaboration between photographer and installation artist JR (age 33) and beloved French filmmaker Agnès Varda (age 88) is inspired and irresistible.
Their movie is simplicity itself: two highly creative people, celebrating their newfound friendship, set off on a series of adventures. Their goal is to visit out-of-the-way villages in France, meet interesting and colorful people, and ask them to participate in JR’s photographic exhibits: gigantic black and white photos pasted on the walls of barns, old buildings, shipping containers, a factory water tank, and the like.
Take it as a means of celebrating everyday life of everyday people. And for the most part, the everyday people—farmers, cheese makers, truck drivers, even a cinema operator— are tickled with the end result.
In recent years Varda has made a specialty of impromptu films in which she brings her artist’s sensibility and photographer’s eye to seemingly ordinary people, especially women. This makes her a perfect partner for JR, a free spirit who expresses himself on a much larger scale but shares Varda’s interest in exposing the beauty of the commonplace.
Following this unlikely pair makes for a fairly jolly outing. There are also references to Varda’s earlier work and her association with the French New Wave, one of which culminates in a climactic sequence that is spurred by a possible reunion.
One doesn’t need a thesaurus to describe a reaction to Faces Places. It can be summed up in two words: pure pleasure.