The French New Wave movement of the 1950s and 60s broke new ground in a film world that was, at that time, dominated by an ossifying Hollywood aesthetic. Empowered by smaller, more portable film cameras and inspired by the then-new auteur theory, which posited that film could be a painterly medium for self-expression, a new wave of directors created free flowing, timeless works.
Director Agnés Varda in Faces Places
Standing alongside Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Goddard was Agnes Varda. Her first work predates the official kickoff of the New Wave movement, and her mixture of documentary and narrative would prove hugely inspiring to her comrades. Her 1961 film Cleo From 5 to 7 is considered a feminist masterpiece, deconstructing the male gaze by focusing on the point of view of a young singer awaiting the results of a medical test that would tell her if she lives or dies.
Now, at age 89, with more than twenty features under her belt, Varda has created one of her most acclaimed and wide-reaching films yet. Faces Places (in French, Visages Villages) is currently sitting at an exceedingly rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Varda and her collaborator, French street artist JR, travel through the French countryside creating portraits of small town residents and making art on the fly. The film was a huge hit at Cannes, winning the Golden Eye documentary award. Now, Indie Memphis and Memphis Women In Film have teamed up to bring Faces Places to Memphis for one night only. It will screen on Wednesday, January 17 at Malco Ridgeway at 7 PM. You can get tickets on the Indie Memphis website. Here's the trailer: