Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda


Directors & Writers: Agnès Varda & JR
Producers: Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda
Cinematography: Romain Le Bonniec, Claire Duguet, Nicolas Guicheteau, and Valentin Vignet
Editor: Maxime Pozzi Garcia
Composer: Matthieu Chedid
Distributor: Cohen Media Group
Release Date: October, 2017
Run-time: 89 minutes

FILM SYNOPSIS: Filmmaker Agnès Varda teams with photographer and muralist JR to travel the French countryside to meet local residents and produce giant photographic portraits of them. Although they are separated in age by more than half a century, Varda and JR both revel in the power of images and in documenting the lives of everyday people.

Strangely enough, the art film featuring two extremely different artists meeting and setting off on mini-adventures to meet people and create art along the way, is the front-runner in the documentary category when the category itself is stacked with emotional driven stories of heroism, wrongful accusations and deaths, and adrenaline pumping exposés. “Faces Places” features 89-year-old French New Wave director Agnes Varda and 34-year-old French photographer and muralist simply called JR embark on a journey that explores the deepest parts of people’s lives while creating celebrities and attractions out of the people and things they paste on the side of buildings, trains, ruins, etc. The dynamic between the two artists is the funnest part of this film, with JR being this very free spirited, down-to-earth young man compared to the young-at-heart Agnes, who wears her years on her sleeve, reminiscing but still game to do whatever JR comes up with. There’s a quirky comedy between the two as they make this odd couple documentary which errs on the side of lightheartedness but still lands emotionally whenever it needs to.

Agnes Varda has already won an Honorary Academy Award this year for her contributions to cinema, making her the first female director to receive such an award. Also, she became the oldest Oscar nominee of all-time, being 6 days older than fellow nominee this year, James Ivory, who is also the front-runner in his category of Best Adapted Screenplay. This could be both their years. The fact that Agnes received that Honorary award shows that the Academy loves her and her work, so “Faces Places” definitely has that going for it. Personally, “Last Men In Aleppo” hit me so much harder as a film and will definitely sit with me longer than “Faces Places” will. As much as I could have watched “Faces Places” all day (they should really put together a television series for these two), it didn’t push me to an emotional place like the deaths in “Last Men In Aleppo.” And on the aspect of pure quality of filmmaking, “Faces Places” wasn’t extraordinary. Some of the threading was weak and amateurish. What the deciding factor comes down to is probably likeability. Both films have 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, but “Faces Places” is Certified Fresh due to having more reviewers and “top” reviewers rating it. “Faces Places” feels like the type of film that is so cute it won’t turn anyone off. It is enjoyable for all ages, while “Last Men In Aleppo” could possibly be a little divisive, as it depicts so many dead bodies, mainly children, that it could come off a little too graphic. But in my opinion, that is what life looks like. It was not overproduced. It was a raw look at life and for that, if I could vote, “Last Men In Aleppo” in would get mine. Will enough people feel that way or will “Faces Places” win on the steam from filmmaker Agnes Varda as well as the likeability of the film.



VIEWED: Sunday
February 11th, 2018



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