CANNES 2017: VISAGE VILLAGES, BY JR AND AGNÉS VARDA

This entry was posted on May 22nd, 2017

By Mónica Delgado

JR, a young an enigmatic French photographer that rarely takes off his glasses, is the director of this new documentary, hand in hand with the marvelous Agnés Varda, one of the most beloved filmmakers by all cinephiles. Together, they realize a series of photographic projects, like interventions in different small french towns, where they pick up some testimonies, and ask for portraits: all this is part of Visage Villages, a”road movie of the quotidian” of sorts.

This registry combines two stories, the first one where Agnés and JR describe the beginning of their friendship and the articulation of this artistic project through memories, anecdotes, opinions and intimate portraits. The second one, is the tour they make through different zones of France in a van which serves as a “photo printer”, through places that share this common effort for work, visiting mining , worker and farmer towns. It’s a small homage to this men and woman in their daily activities. The filmmakers photograph them in their immediate tasks and then place in the walls giant prints, given as recognition, generating an interaction with the portrayed.

Visages Villages raises a special creation of generational bridges, a way to eliminate distances between an 80-year-old woman and a younger man, but also claims a sort of creative bonding between the empathy for art and people. The journey they realize together, as every road movie, generates a progression, in this case, of a friendship, a trip that includes a frustrated visit to Jean-Luc Godard and the tears of Varda following this frustration.

It’s impossible to remain unmoved by such an affectionate film, not only because of the sympathy that Varda transmits, but because it’s a film that it’s constantly speaking and showing characters who share experiences, and are surprised by the final collaboration. Without a doubt, Visage Villages is a high point in this Cannes 2017, just for being a document on a very active Varda, and because in a particular memorable moment, it achieves portraying an icon like Godard as an obscure being, maybe without intention, but imagining the opposite doesn’t matter much.

OUT OF COMPETITION
Directors: Agnès Varda, JR
Producers: ARTE France Cinéma / Ciné Tamaris / Social Animals
France, 2017