AGNÈS VARDA: NEW RESTORATIONS
In November, we will offer two evenings of recently restored films by the great Agnès Varda, the Godmother of France’s Nouvelle Vague. Our screening selections include two pairs of features from the 1980s that reflect Varda’s versatility and fluid approach to fiction and documentary storytelling. Jane B. par Agnès V. and Kung-Fu Master! are two movies made in tandem in order to place the spotlight on talented English actress and singer Jane Birkin. Also produced side-by-side, Mur Murs and Documenteur reveal Varda’s immersion into California culture. These screenings are presented in conjunction with the publication of a new critical study of Varda in the University of Illinois’ Contemporary Directors series by UW Madison Professor Kelley Conway. Professor Conway will be on hand to introduce the programs in person.
- Sat., Nov. 14 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
The director of Cleo from 5 to 7 and Vagabond once again paints a portrait of a woman, this time in a marvelously expressionistic way. The everyday life of Birkin - famed singer, actress (Blow Up), fashion icon (the Hermes Birkin bag) and longtime muse to Serge Gainsbourg - is revealed through a freewheeling mix of gorgeous and unexpected fantasy sequences. In each, Jane inhabits a new character, playing a cat & mouse game with Varda as they explore the role of the Muse and the Artist, all the while showcasing the multifaceted nature of Birkin’s talent. For its first-ever U.S. theatrical release the film has been newly-restored from the original 35mm camera negative, overseen by director Varda herself.
- Sat., Nov. 14 | 9:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Decidedly not a martial arts movie, this provocative feature stars English actress Birkin, who co-wrote the screenplay with Varda. Birkin plays Mary-Jane, a 40-year-old divorcee with two teenage daughters (played by Birkin’s real daughters, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon) who falls in love with a 14-year-old boy (Mathieu Demy, son of director Varda and Jacques Demy). “Varda's serene and unrhetorical handling of the loaded subject--underlined with sympathy and understanding for all of the characters, and full of both wit and tenderness--is what gives this picture its charge” (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader).
- Sat., Nov. 21 | 7:00 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Made in tandem with Documenteur during director Varda’s sojourn in Southern California, Mur murs is a documentary about the "murals" of Los Angeles and how the truth of this city, the capital of cinema, is revealed by its inhabitants on its walls. Taken together, these two short features show the director’s usual inventiveness and essayistic sense of storytelling.
- Sat., Nov. 21 | 8:30 PM4070 Vilas Hall
Made in tandem with Mur murs during director Varda’s sojourn in Southern California, Documenteur tells the story of a French woman in Los Angeles who seeks a home for her and her 8 year old son. She finds one and installs furniture recovered from the waste thrown into the street. Her distress is expressed through others that she observes and encounters, all living their own form of exile. Taken together, these two short features show the director’s usual inventiveness and essayistic sense of storytelling.