After screening at festival after festival — from Cannes to Toronto, Telluride to New York — master filmmaker Agnes Varda’s latest feature documentary, “Faces Places,” is nearly due for its theatrical rollout. And what a treat will await viewers who check out Varda’s newest, a true charmer co-directed alongside photographer and muralist JR. The unlikely pair share a true bond, born of a love of images and art, that translates beautifully to the screen.
In the new film, the duo take the road movie formula by storm, traveling around French villages to meet various locals, hoping that they will both share their stories and pose for large-scale portraits. “Their photos are prominently displayed on houses, barns, storefronts and trains revealing the humanity in their subjects, and themselves,” the film’s official synopsis promises. “‘Faces Places’ documents these heart-warming encounters as well as the unlikely, tender friendship they formed along the way.”
In his review from Cannes, our own David Ehrlich was taken by the pair’s chemistry, writing that “the movie is barely five minutes old before it’s clear that these two are a screen duo for the ages. From the charmingly animated opening credits, to the whimsical voiceover in which Varda and JR imagine all the places they might have met — cue footage of Varda dancing in a nightclub — the pair establish an instant rapport that feels too perfect to be faked. In regards to both their chemistry and its context, they come across like less competitive, more huggable versions of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan (though it’s hard to say which is which).”
Get a taste of that charm with our exclusive clip below.
“Faces Places” will screen at the New York Film Festival this week, before hitting limited release on October 6.