Monday, January 18, 2010

Varda's First

Agnès Varda made her first film, La Pointe Courte, in 1955 with no prior film training and without having seen much film at all. A few years later, at the age of 30, she was hailed as an "Ancestor of the New Wave." Granted, Varda was working as a photographer at the time, and her photographic expertise is crucial to the beauty of this film. It's great! It's beautiful! It's amazing! Ahhhh...

I started watching this film on a bus from DC to New York and finished it on Giovanna and Andy's couch, so it was not an optimal viewing- I would prefer to see this in a theater on film. But it's pretty darn cool that I'm able to see it on DVD, thanks to the 2008 Criterion release of four of Varda's early films. Vagabond (1985) has long been one of my favorite films. And I loved Cleo from 9 to 5 (1962), though I didn't connect years ago when I watched it that Varda was its director. But it was hard to imagine as I started watching Pointe Courte that Varda could have made something this...old.

La Pointe Courte is from a time when films were deliberate, every shot carefully planned out. I know I know, they still are for the most part. But these shots are go gorgeous that every part of the frame seems created especially for the shot. The lighting, the movement, everything... I thought of Bergman, Fellini watching this, all the metaphors. There are also hilarious bits, such as when a woman speaking to a group of folks who, like her, are no longer young says, "We've already shit half our crap." I've had the good fortune of saying this a couple times this week about things I've seen, but...what a treat!

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