A journey on the roads of France between the evocation of memories, film and installation photo of anonymous met, Faces the Villages is a vibrant tribute to the people of France and the creation of art, signed Agnès Varda and JR.
This is not its 88 spring that will stop Agnès Varda. Photographer, filmmaker, documentary filmmaker and, since 2003, visual artist, Agnès Varda innovates its first co-production with the artist / photographer JR. One is accustomed to go out and glean testimonies in the course of his wanderings, the other of the faces that he photographed on his truck and it sticks to the life-size giant monuments.
FACES the VILLAGES arose from their meeting in the rue Daguerre, the fief d’Agnès Varda. JR went to see it, the photograph with her cat and yarn needle, they have decided to do a project together, not knowing what it was going to be.FACES the VILLAGES says also this “work in progress”, the film in the making, the questions they posed. Has the truck of JR, they map out the road direction Bruay-la-Buissiere in the North, where they meet Janine, the last inhabitant of a street of former miners. JR rears his portrait on his house and he need to see the joy and emotion in the eyes of this woman when her fight to not fall into oblivion seems to be suddenly rehabilitated by this collage monumental.
The journey continues to the south and together they will shoot the workers of a factory, a farmer lonely, a young waitress and her umbrella, breeders of goats with horns and without horns, dockers in le Havre… all these unexpected encounters (Varda does not believe that the hazards of meetings), are born of the intense moments where all these strangers to see their enlarged image on surfaces sometimes improbable. Agnès Varda and JR pay tribute to all these men and women anonymous bearers of a memory which becomes in our eyes collective. Each person photographed becomes a giant in his own place.
This wandering poetic also allows them to revisit their own work through the places they intersect. For Agnès Varda, it will be this beach in normandy where she had photographed his friend Guy Bourdin near a goat stranded at the foot of the cliff. Today on this same beach, a blockhouse that had threatened to fall from one moment to the other has been purposely “helped”. It is on this blockhouse that JR has just the idea to paste the photo of Bourdin by Agnès Varda before the cement is completely swallowed by the high tide. All the cruelty and the beauty of ephemeral art in a plan.
The allusions are numerous, mischievous and jumping nicely of the rooster to the donkey as often in Varda. While JR photography the sick eyes of Agnes who slowly loses sight, Agnes tries to unveil the eyes of JR always hidden behind his dark glasses and that reminds him of Jean-Luc Godard. She then evokes the short film burlesque in Cléo from 5 to 7, where we see Anna Karina and for the first time, the eyes of Jean-Luc Godard. Godard plays a role in spite of him that we will not reveal here, but let’s say that JR seems not to be mistaken in affirming that he has managed to rewrite the end of their own movie.
Agnès Varda in his comment off, plays with words, created charades, amuses and moves. She was not afraid to expose himself as opposed to JR a lot more secret and cabotin. Each has its eccentricities, Varda and her hair color, JR and his glasses. The two is to titillate, to seek, to discover and depict in a montage-collage ingenious, their brainstorming, their evocations.FACES the VILLAGES is above all a movie about the meeting, about the place of the other in our heart as in creative research. The human body as inspiration.
In a very beautiful scene, Agnès Varda and JR go out on the tomb of Henri Cartier-Bresson , who is buried in a cemetery tiny in the south of France. The filmmaker evokes the old-age, death is inevitable and close. Not even fear ! May be it is in fact less fear disappear when one leaves behind traces of our existence (as the toes of Varda photographed and transported on bulk containers), of that of others, when one always been driven by the desire to transmit and to rehabilitate the memories of that time ? In the end, FACES the VILLAGES looks like a photo of JR : grandiose, fragile, and ephemeral.
Anne Laure Farges
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• Production : Agnès Varda and JR
• Release Date : June 28, 2017
• Duration : 1h29min