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With: n/a
Written by: Agnès Varda
Directed by: Agnès Varda
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: French, English with English subtitles
Running Time: 96
Date: 03/19/2013

Cinévardaphoto (2004)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Photo Show

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The wonderful French director Agnes Varda cobbles together one new short film with two older ones for this new feature, each having something to do with photographs. It begins with the newest one, Ydessa, the Bears and etc..., which tells about an unusual Canadian art installation, a collection of several thousand photographs of humans posing with teddy bears. Both the collector, Ydessa, and Varda scramble to draw some kind of meaning out of the photos and the effect is fairly pretentious. With her great 2000 documentary, The Gleaners and I, Varda found art in artlessness, but here she tries to find art in something that already calls itself art, and it's not as effective.

The second film, Ulysse (1982) fares better, and explores a single, haunting photograph taken by Varda back in 1954. She interviews the subjects 30 years later and tries to find the essence of the photo. Thirdly, we get Salut les Cubains (1963), which collects a vibrant montage of Varda's photos of Cuba and sets them to both music and narration. The one drawback is that the subtitles flash by as quickly as the photos and if the viewer gets caught up in one, he will miss out on the other. Even though the narration is by Michel Piccoli and Varda, it would have been fine to hire English actors to dub the words.

Overall, Cinevardaphoto is a mixed effort, but it's nice to hear from Varda, still vibrant in her 70s.

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