Faces Places

French New Wave director Agnes Varda, now in her late 80s, and photographer/street artist JR, in his early 30s, travel from village to village taking photos and posting them on barns, homes, and trains. It’s probably a safe bet that this is the last thing we’ll get to see from Varda. She talks about her eyesight getting worse and we can see it’s hard for her to get around. We’ll surely be seeing more from JR in the future (a bit more local, he recently did a 70-foot photo of a Mexican toddler looking at the barrier wall between Tecate, San Diego County, and Mexico).

This documentary has some delightful moments, as we get to meet villagers and hear stories about coal miners, and listen to farmers…and their smiles as they see their faces plastered on the wall of a barn or home they live in.

There’s something so charming about watching these two on a road trip style adventure. Yet at times it feels like forced spontaneity and it gets a bit repetitive.

It’s touching to see how moved a woman gets seeing the huge posters of coal miners glued up on the walls…as well as her own face, plastered on a building they lived in, and that she refuses to give up.

There are meetings with goat farmers that could’ve been a bit more interesting.

It would’ve been touching to see JR wheel Varda through the Louvre, as he jumps around exuberantly, but it’s another Jean-Luc Godard thing, and there’s a bit too much of Godard in this. Although the Godard bit at the ending is rather powerful.

This is a pleasant enough documentary. It’s certainly a must see for Godard lovers, and fans of documentaries — as there’s a great chance this wins the Oscar for the best documentary of the year.

My wife was a little bored, but it’s only 90 minutes. I caught it at the Angelika Film Center, where it’s only playing for a few more days. So you better hurry if you want to catch it.

2 ½ stars out of 5.