Part of Doctober.
A treasure of global cinema, Agnès Varda makes films alive with curiosity and playfulness. Now in her eighties, she is the world's most youthful filmmaker. Her latest nonfiction film is an inspired collaboration with JR, the mysterious French street artist. Like many of Varda's works, FACES PLACES is a kind of travelogue in which the wonder of each locale visited is only as potent as the populace whose existence affects it. The modus operandi is simple: Varda and JR roam from place to place in JR's truck, which is decorated to resemble a camera. In each place they visit, they meet people—coal miners, cheese makers, a Herculean farmer—and JR creates immense monochromatic portraits of them. Our endearing duo then affixes these portraits to various edifices. Quite literally, faces merge with places—or to cite the film's original French title, visage merges with village. The landscape Varda and JR traverse becomes a record of encounters. The cumulative effect is transcendent.
“The real star of the film is the friendship between JR and legendary Belgian film director Agnès Varda…a playful, surprisingly powerful document of an attempt to understand France by looking closely at its people.” —Alissa Wilkinson, Vox “...Has there ever been a director who gives the lie to the old-man’s-movie trope like Agnès Varda? She’s 88, and makes films like she’s 28. Her movies are the opposite of old wo(man’s) movies. They’re a tonic—just watching them makes you feel younger.” —Owen Gleiberman, Variety