Documentary 2017 France 1hr 34 mins Cert: PG
Directors: Agnès Varda, JR
Nominations: Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature
This ostensible documentary has a wonderful warmth and playfulness, manifested as an essay/road movie in the classic spirit of the French Nouvelle Vague.
In a collaboration between the 90-year old director Agnès Varda and a 35-year old street artist, JR, who always wears a hat and dark glasses, this odd but evenly matched couple go on the road all over France in JR’s van, which is also a mobile photo booth. They encourage locals in towns and villages to have their portraits taken in the back of the van, which are printed out in gigantic sizes by JR and then pasted onto the sides of buildings. The results are often spectacular and unbearably moving.
Varda and JR put giant pictures of early 20th century miners on the sides of cottages once occupied by them, juxta-positioned with the huge face of a woman who is the only woman still living there. She is overwhelmed with emotion when she sees herself.
This is a beguiling and unique piece of work.