Jacquot Demy is a little boy at the end of the thirties. His father owns a garage and his mother is a hairdresser. The whole family lives happily and likes to sing and to go to the movies. Jacquot is fascinated by every kind of show (theatre, cinema, puppets). He buys a camera to shoot his first amateur film… An evocation of French cineast Jacques Demy’s childhood and vocation for the cinema and the musicals.
In this autobiographical documentary, stories from filmmaker Agnès Varda’s “childhood in Brussels and adolescence in occupied Paris, of Los Angeles in the ‘60s, and of life in her 14e arrondissement Paris neighborhood are melded with clips from both documentary and fiction work. Husband/filmmaker Jacques Demy, who died in 1990, is an abiding presence. Varda is an avid collector: of people and places, sensual experiences and intellectual preoccupations, personal commitments and political principles. She is a mother and wife, a feminist, nature-lover and urban-dwelling artist. Above all, she is a woman in love with the cinema whose new movie perfectly expresses her sentiment, ‘While I live, I remember.'” [Synopsis courtesy of Film Forum]
Veteran French director Agnes Varda’s Le Petit Amour is based on a short story by actress/songstress Jane Birkin. Birkin herself plays the main character, a loving but lonely 40-year-old divorcee. Her life is brightened a bit by the presence of a handsome 15-year-old, played by Mathieu Demy. Their romance forms the basis of this “petit” Varda effort, which is also known as Kung Fu Master (now you’ll have to see it for yourself!). Shortly after the release of Le Petit Amour, Agnes Varda directed a documentary centering upon Jane Birkin, Jane B par Agnes V.
Via Doc Alliance Films: “Venturing from Venice Beach to Watts, Varda looks at the murals of Los Angeles as backdrop to and mirror of the city’s many cultures. She casts a curious eye on graffiti and photorealism, roller disco and gang violence, evangelical Christians, Hare Krishnas, artists, angels, and ordinary Angelenos.”
Cléo is a pop singer who wanders around Paris while she awaits her biopsy results in fear she may have cancer. As Cléo readies herself to meet with her doctor at 7 o’clock, she meets with several friends and strangers while trying to grapple with mortality. Sensing indifference from those nearest to her, she finds herself questioning the doll-like image people have of her and is overcome by a feeling of solitude and helplessness. She finally finds some comfort in the company of stranger she meets in a park and with whom she is able to have a sincere conversation.
In seven different parts, Godard, Klein, Lelouch, Marker, Resnais and Varda show their sympathy for the North-Vietnamees army during the Vietnam-war.
Agnes Varda, Grande Dame of the French New Wave, has made 2001’s most acclaimed non-fiction film — a self-described “wandering-road documentary.” Beginning with the famous Jean-Francois Millet painting of women gathering wheat left over from a harvest, she focused her ever-seeking eye on gleaners: those who scour already-reaped fields for the odd potato or turnip. Her investigation leads us from forgotten corners of the French countryside to off-hours at the green markets of Paris, following those who insist on finding a use for that which society has cast off, whether out of necessity or activism. Varda’s own ruminations on her life as a filmmaker (a glener of sorts) give her a connection to her subjects that creates a touching human portrait that the L.A. Weekly deemed “a protest film that’s part social critique, part travelogue, but always an unsentimental celebration of human resilience.”