Features: Agnes Varda, JR
Veteran Nouvelle Vague director Agnes Varda’s enduring zest for life and boundless curiosity is evidenced in this charming documentary, a freewheeling road movie that also serves as a tribute to normal folk. On her trip the nonagenarian Varda is accompanied by photographer artist JR, whose work consists of reproducing huge pictures of his subjects and attaching them to the front and sides of buildings. They travel around in the artist’s van, wittily painted like a giant camera with a functioning print slot in the side, visiting various villages and asking the locals about their life experiences. The people they encounter are invariably hospitable, full of fascinating stories, and game for having their images reproduced and mounted. The finished works are very impressive, JR’s huge reproductions elevating the everyday doughty small-town French folk to heroic status. During the journey JR and Varda, who exhibit an easy and comfortable rapport, muse on matters such as ageing, community and creativity. It’s a breezy meander but profound in its celebration of everyday people and shared humanity, and Varda and the puckish JR are excellent hosts.