The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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tenia
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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#76 Post by tenia » Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:44 am

They had several "supervised" restorations that still bear their color signature in an obvious fashion.

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TMDaines
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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#77 Post by TMDaines » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:30 am

Are online retailers shipping this in a study protective box, as the Bergman set was packaged in?

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#78 Post by cdnchris » Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:08 pm

The one I received came in a very sturdy/protective box so I assume it will be the same with retailers.

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HitchcockLang
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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#79 Post by HitchcockLang » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:15 pm

Received my set today. I am completely uninitiated to her work (though I adore her husband’s) so this is a total blind buy for me. For those more familiar with her work, would it be best to watch everything chronologically, by the festival programming order in the box, or just cherry pick the classics to start?

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#80 Post by swo17 » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:16 pm

swo17 wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 6:11 pm
Disc 13 is the best one 😎

(Cinema Guild's Cinevardaphoto program plus the JR collab)
Though maybe it would be better to save it until toward the end

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Ribs
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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#81 Post by Ribs » Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:16 pm

HitchcockLang wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:15 pm
Received my set today. I am completely uninitiated to her work (though I adore her husband’s) so this is a total blind buy for me. For those more familiar with her work, would it be best to watch everything chronologically, by the festival programming order in the box, or just cherry pick the classics to start?
I’ve not seen everything but I’d say mostly chronological would be good - starting the set with Varda by Agnes doesn’t really make sense to me and I question the choice of doing so. Maybe the narrative hits, then the Gleaners & I’s, Faces Places, then Beaches of Agnes and Varda by Agnes, then loop back around to all the more “minor works” with the background on them from the two autobiodocs maybe adding more of interest? That’s, broadly speaking, what I plan to do, even though I’ve seen a chunk of them.

(As an unrelated note, I love, love, love One Hundred and One Nights - just an extremely indulgent dream where all of movie history is happening at once - I had thought its reputation has slightly improved from its giant bomb status but maybe I’m just projecting.)

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#82 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:23 pm

Another vote for (more or less) chronological order.

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tenia
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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#83 Post by tenia » Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:22 am

zedz wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 3:58 pm
senseabove wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 3:29 pm
No disrespect to RitrovataBlue, but I'm far more surprised by someone claiming Lions Love is their favorite Varda feature than someone complaining that six hours of content—even if it is 16mm Academy—crammed on one disc might be a struggle to encode well.
It's five hours and it'll be fine.
Now that the discs are out, I'm starting to find video bitrates for the features, disc by disc :
Disc 1 : Agnès Forever : 2h11 (main content) : 33 Mbps / no problem
Disc 2 : La pointe courte : 2h11 : 36 Mbps / no problem
Disc 3 : Cléo de 5 à 7 : 2h07 : 36 Mbps / very light issues on Cléo and Les dites cariatides
Disc 4 : Rue Daguerre : 1h31 : 35.5 Mbps / very light typical Pixelogic issues on Daguerrotypes
Disc 5 : Married Life : 3h16 : 25 Mbps / light typical Pixelogic issues on Le bonheur and Les créatures
Disc 6 : In California : 5h08 : 16-18 Mbps / My Own Private Idaho-bad compression issues on all 5 films
Disc 7 : Her Body, Herself : 3h56 : 27.5 Mbps except Nausicaa (13 Mbps) / typical Pixelogic issues on One Sings and Plaisir d'amour en Iran
Disc 8 : No Shelter : 2h15 : 36 Mbps for Vagabond, 29 Mbps for 7p., cuis., s. de b., ... à saisir / very light typical Pixelogic issues on 7p., cuis., s. de b., ... à saisir
Disc 9 : Jane B. : 2h57 : 29 Mbps / light typical Pixelogic issues on both movies

I don't have yet the details for Jacquot de Nantes but the blu-ray.com's caps are appalling in terms of blockiness.

EDIT :
Disc 10 : Jacquot de Nantes : 4h39 : 18 Mbps (yep, for Jacquot AND the other stuff) / everything's poorly compressed like the California stuff, as expected
Disc 11 : Simon Cinéma : 1h45 : 36 Mbps / seems quite OK !
Disc 12 : La glaneuse : 2h25 : 35.5 Mbps / limited at the source anyway
Last edited by tenia on Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#84 Post by RobertB » Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:57 pm

If you are new to Varda, and if you want to start with some good films, I would suggest wait a little with the earliest films. They are a bit rough.
Start with "Around Paris" program (but wait with the 80s films), then watch the "Married Life" program. After those you can do the Early Varda to see how she started. And then the rest chronologically.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#85 Post by knives » Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:13 pm

I’d cherry pick whichever shorts got my interest though chronological order works too.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#86 Post by barryconvex » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:45 am

Good lord, The Young Girls Turn 25 looks like a smashed bag of shit. Easily the worst criterion transfer I've ever seen.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#87 Post by swo17 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:26 pm

How does it compare to the version on the Demy set?

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#88 Post by barryconvex » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:08 pm

Good question, I haven't watched that one but it couldn't possibly be worse. Think Pathfinder's treatment of Chabrol and you're in the ballpark.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#89 Post by Rayon Vert » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:18 pm

I'm guessing it must look very similar since they both use the same restoration.

From blu-ray.com's review of the film in the Varda box set:
Some prefatory text discloses that this was shot on 16mm silver color stock in a 1.37:1 format, which was restored in 2013 by DIG Image, with a digital 2K resotration from the A and B bands of the original 16mm negative. Agnès Varda supervised the color grading.
From the review of the Young GIrls of Rochefort BR:
The Young Girls Turn 25 was restored in 2K by Digimage in 2013. Agnes Varda supervised the color grading.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#90 Post by dwk » Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:21 am

I cant remember how it looks on the Demy set, but the streaming version of The Young Girls Turn 25 looks similar to Pro-B's caps.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#91 Post by HitchcockLang » Sat Aug 15, 2020 11:42 am

Thanks to all for their advice and suggestions for how to dive into Varda's oeuvre and this set. I decided to go strictly chronologically while still keeping in mind RobertB's warning that the early films were "rough." I watched La Pointe Courte last night and holy Moses, if this is rough then oh what gems must await me later in the set.

It may help that I was a massive fan of William Faulkner in grad school, writing my thesis on him, so the inspiration of the novel structure (pun intended) of The Wild Palms as well as just generally adapting Faulkner's spirit of Modernism from literature to film was a very intriguing idea successfully executed. I was struck by the beauty of nearly every frame so you can imagine my surprise when Varda quips in the supplements that she had never worked in a lesser role on any films before and didn't even really go to see films when she made this one. I am sure her experience as a still photographer benefitted her immensely.

I was struck by the relentless series of boundaries the lovers had to cross literally and physically (train tracks, sometimes empty and sometimes with a slow moving train further impeding them, a Stygian river, etc.) as they were emotionally moving deeper toward the core of their relationship woes. I was a bit surprised by some of the dialogue which I didn't expect given how Varda is hailed as something of a feminist filmmaker. Not sure of the etiquette for spoilers on such a film but
SpoilerShow
"Lui" exerts a lot of patience with "Elle" but is often frustrated by her pain, especially regarding his affair and her inability to move on from it, suggesting that she is choosing to be unhappy and that she can just get over it and be happy again. This is a view that she seems to implicitly accept and the whole thing felt a bit like trying to emotionally groom and control the "hysterical" woman.
But this didn't bother me so much as surprise me. I chalked it up to Varda prioritizing realism for her characters.

Also, maybe this is incredibly obvious and well documented and I'm just late to the game, but it seems Varda must have been massively influential on Bergman? The overlapping perpendicular faces seems like an obvious influence on Persona (unless my ignorance includes some older influence on both filmmakers), but the interior of the fishing vessel where the lovers share a private moment also immediately brought to mind the imagery of the ship interior in Through a Glass Darkly.

Needless to say, I am really looking forward to spending some time going through this whole set's features, shorts, and supplements.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#92 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:49 pm

I know of no evidence Bergman ever saw Varda's film. Varda was a photographer using a visual trick, it is not inconceivable for other visual-minded artists to independently have the same inspiration. After Persona's massive success, the imagery became forever entwined with Bergman, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were several other such shots in silent films or other precursors. La Pointe Courte had no real lasting impact or influence in then-contemporary film history (and it was not a critical success even among those she'd later befriend-- everyone at Cahiers bulleted the film), and if anything it's a good reminder of the fallibility of historical studies focusing on who did it first rather than whose iteration had the most impact

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#93 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:29 pm

*checks notes* ...Ingmar Bergman... is always getting the short end of the stick!

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#94 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:30 pm

Huh?

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#95 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:32 pm

Oh I was just amused by the full-throatedness of the defense. One could also make the same argument in the opposite direction (i.e. he might have seen the film and liked the image and we just don't know). Not sure it has to be some kind of artistic thievery either way.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#96 Post by knives » Sat Aug 15, 2020 11:01 pm

That would be harder to believe though given that the film didn’t have a general release for years.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#97 Post by HitchcockLang » Sat Aug 15, 2020 11:13 pm

That is a good point knives and one I honestly didn’t realize until after I had posted my above comment. Only later, reading the essay in the book that came with the box, I see the film was seldom seen until the 90s. So you and domino are right, it is unlikely Bergman saw the film or at least unlikely he saw it prior to making Persona (unless he attended the showing at Cannes). It’s probably also unlikely Woody Allen saw it prior to making Love and Death even though the similar image in that film bears an even greater resemblance to Varda’s than to Bergman’s realization of the visual idea. I suppose more to domino’s point, it’s rather interesting how something which is apparently somewhat universal can be retroactively viewed as so unique. Discounting my faux pas of overstating my assumption that the film had influenced Bergman, I still found it a captivating film and one that has continued to linger in my thoughts the whole day after watching it. I find it a little surprising it wasn’t more well liked in its time.

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#98 Post by Noiretirc » Sun Aug 16, 2020 4:13 pm

So, for those who are in love with this set, are you holding your noses around the problematic transfers that we read about in this thread and other reviews? Does the good clearly outweigh the bad?

(And how is that book?)

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#99 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Aug 16, 2020 4:54 pm

Noiretirc wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 4:13 pm
So, for those who are in love with this set, are you holding your noses around the problematic transfers that we read about in this thread and other reviews? Does the good clearly outweigh the bad?

(And how is that book?)
Personally, if I didn't have any Varda, I would still get it. But I already have the Artificial Eye set, and I caught that glorious Varda retrospective that ran late last year too, so most likely I'll hold off indefinitely. If they release certain titles separately, I may pick those up due to lack of better alternatives, even if they feature the same questionable color timing (lke Daguerréotypes).

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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#100 Post by Ribs » Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:37 pm

Noiretirc wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 4:13 pm
So, for those who are in love with this set, are you holding your noses around the problematic transfers that we read about in this thread and other reviews? Does the good clearly outweigh the bad?

(And how is that book?)
I tend to find most people’s reactions to questionable color grading a little severe, and still find the overall improvement in resolution way preferable then a better colored older alternative. If there’s a really severe problem, I have no issues tweaking with white balance settings for the individual film to at least make an inroads to correct it (particularly, Midnight Cowboy was one that really needed it, I found the grade on the disc downright sickly). In an ideal world it wouldn’t be a problem but I don’t think it’s something that should cause writing off buying many, many releases that are afflicted to varying degrees. Just how I feel, I just can’t be bothered about it when there’s no reason to think any of this could or would be corrected again in the future.

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