Visages, villages (Agnès Varda and JR, 2017)

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mfunk9786
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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#26 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:31 am

Still think you’re jumping to far too many conclusions. And she doesn’t say he’s “not a nice man,” I believe she playfully calls him a bastard or something along those lines - but are old friends not able to speak of one another that way? There’s still the tone in this post like this was a hit piece of some kind - I’m not sure why you’re affording Godard a healthy amount of benefit of the doubt with regard to the level of warmth and affection behind his actions, but dismissing Varda for far less than what Godard (seemingly, none of us know how this played out behind the scenes) did.

I mean, jeez - if the guy really was coerced and hoodwinked into appearing so terribly as you describe, could he at least have done Varda the professional courtesy of telling her in person that despite her intended ending, he’d prefer not to appear in the final cut?

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#27 Post by J Adams » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:19 am

To me, and probably the general viewer, the scene plays as critical of Godard. Nasty old bastard. The general viewer doesn't have this history, and is presented with the "fact" that JLG sucks. And he might, but, why put that at the end of your otherwise cheery film?

And keep in mind this a refusal to be FILMED, not necessarily a refusal to meet.

I am interested in hearing why this scene is even in the movie. Yes, it ties into the other guy's reluctance to remove his sunglasses. But how else does it fit. The film purports to celebrate the general public, no?

Oh, the scene got the movie a lot of attention. The Godard bit features in every article I have read about the film, not to mention the infamous NYFF Q&A.
Last edited by J Adams on Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#28 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:36 am

Still quite confused as to what is wrong with any of this. Why shouldn’t the scene be included? Why shouldn’t the film get attention?

More to the point: why has Godard earned your steely defense to this degree? Can he not speak for himself if he so chooses? The backlash against him from this isn’t exactly overwhelming. It’s one of the most memorable endings in any film in recent years, largely because of him. Beyond that it’s a lot of grey area, no one is picketing his home or refusing to make his films over this small personal moment that was shared via the ending of this small documentary.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#29 Post by J Adams » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:46 am

The scene gives rise to a good ending, and I presume Godard doesn't care. (Although I personally would not want my house put on a publicly released film.) Ultimately I just feel that Varda abuses a connection (which was possibly severed 40 something years ago, who knows?) to someone way more famous, and that seems antithetical to both her persona and the film.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#30 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:29 am

Do you think she views it (or Godard views it) as a fame-related networking situation? They're 89 and 86 years old, and were personal friends during the height of their careers (though one might argue, I suppose, that Varda has never been as celebrated or as popular as she is now). Isn't it a pretty cynical viewpoint to be looking at it as "severing a connection" as if he's no longer going to write her a recommendation letter?

Your primary issue when it comes to the film, in my view, seems to be downplaying Varda. Her talent, her popularity (or, okay, fame), the idea that anyone might want to maintain a lifelong friendship with her on- or off-camera, her contributions to the art that she and JR produced in this film... you take issue with all of these things in ways that just seem diametrically opposed to both what's on screen and what the reception of the film has been. There's no legal requirement that you like the film, but the reasons don't seem rooted in concrete, contextual reality. They read much more like a longstanding personal grudge than a criticism of the work itself.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#31 Post by J Adams » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:48 am

Enough said. Thanks.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#32 Post by Werewolf by Night » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:40 pm

Cohen Media has announced the US DVD/Blu-ray release for March 6. And here are the extras, courtesy of the hilariously typo-filled announcement on Blu-ray.com:

Image

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#33 Post by All the Best People » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:03 am

Well, I saw this today and thought it was magnificent, and I have no interest in taking part in the debate above. Something I was wondering, though; I think this is a film I can recommend to nearly anyone, and that they would find it delightful. BUT -- how much does one need to know about the Nouvelle Vague to get the last fifteen minutes or so? The film provides some context (the Louvre scene), but not others (the Pierrot le Fou [inspirational, apparently] cite). My gut is that it gives the NV virgin enough to get the idea.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#34 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:32 am

I think someone would just need to know how revered (and reclusive) JLG is, and that he and Varda were friends and collaborators during a very fertile creative period of filmmaking. Beyond that, I don't think the specifics would really matter, and I do think the film touches on that enough that unless they never heard of Godard whatsoever, they'd get something out of that.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#35 Post by ianthemovie » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:52 pm

For those in the Boston area: Varda will be delivering two of this year's Norton Lectures at Harvard on 2/26 and 2/27, in addition to being present at screenings of Faces Places and Vagabond at the Harvard Film Archive on 2/23 and 2/24.

Frederick Wiseman and Wim Wenders will be rounding out the lecture series. I went to hear Wiseman's first talk this afternoon and it was very entertaining. He responded to a question about whether he sees himself as "a moralist or a muckraker" by quoting "the great American philosopher Samuel Goldwyn--if you want to deliver a message, send a telegram," and said that at the moment his favorite novel is Herman Melville's The Confidence Man, because "it's about what's happening now." The lecture consisted of him presenting clips from six or seven of his films and commenting on them, including the raucously funny taxi-school scene from In Jackson Heights.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda & JR, 2017)

#36 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:35 pm

Finally caught this, and while I agree that it seems like it would be totally pleasant and charming as a self-contained experience with no prior knowledge of Varda or the cinema of her era, it definitely gains meaning and value for those who do bring some context (and I'm sure the same is true for those who are more aware and appreciative of JR's work going in than I was). That said, I couldn't help but have the near-unanimous praise this has received since last year's Cannes in the back of my mind going in, and these expectations and the fact that the best, most moving sequence in the film is the first (in the dying mining town) combined to - fairly or not - make the remaining 80 minutes of the film feel slowly deflating as I realized that pleasantness and charm was about all I was going to get out of it. Faces, Places is without a doubt a worthwhile experience - and one that especially shouldn't be missed by cinephiles - but not one that ranks among the best of the year for me.

I certainly don't want to reopen the can of rancid worms above about the film's final sequence, but (without critiquing the motives of anyone involved) the entire Godard episode did feel less aligned with the aims of the rest of the film as a whole, and the choice to end what had been until then almost entirely a celebration of everyday people with a tight focus on the relationships of three artists with varying degrees of notoriety felt off, however well-executed and personally meaningful it might be. If the Godard trip had been the penultimate portion of the film and the mining town taken its place as the finale - bringing the focus back to using art to illuminate and celebrate the past and present of people who the rest of the world can and does overlook - my feelings would probably be more in line with the raves elsewhere.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda and JR, 2017)

#37 Post by knives » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:45 am

The above is largely my opinion. Like a lot of Varda works this would have made a truly amazing short film had it ended with the miners, but at feature length it feels kind of repetitive and the personal stuff relating to her comes across as inorganic. Also not to open a can of worms, but the stuff with JR as a reincarnation of Godard works a lot better than the ending with the grandmother sequence seeming like a better close to that theme then the story that Varda writes at the end.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda and JR, 2017)

#38 Post by tenia » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:06 pm

We watched this one with my GF a few months ago, and while it was overall pleasing, we ended up being slightly disappointed. It is indeed quite repetitive, and the Godard part left us clueless as to its purpose within the movie (the only reading we had was that Varda wanted to paint him as an asshole), but mostly, it indeed starts well but seems drifting all along towards less interesting topics. There's also something very posy about how both JR and Varda talks (or rather voice over) that can quickly be annoying.
It's certainly not something I would consider "bad", but I suppose we expected something tighter and more focused. In this regard, while not on the same subject per se but similar in a wish to depict some kind of everyday people, I preferred Depardon's La vie moderne.

And for those interested in it, I would, however, not recommend the recent documentary by Romain Goupil & Daniel Cohn-Bendit, La traversée, which is way too long (2h25) for its own good, while managing despite this to pack so many itnerviewees they're all treated superficially.

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Re: Visages, villages (Agnès Varda and JR, 2017)

#39 Post by MongooseCmr » Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:24 pm

I thought this was lovely to start, but the more I think on DarkImbecile’s suggested edits the more I prefer that theoretical version. It’s already become the actual cut in my mind. The only section that really strikes me as unnecessary is the wives of the dockworkers bit, easily the least interesting, longest, and politically obvious.

Without sounding really ignorant or classist, what’s stuck with me the longest here is how completely different the French working class seems from their American counterparts. Total culture shock.

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