films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Cleo from 5 to 7

Cléo de 5 à 7
1962 / 90m - France
Cleo from 5 to 7 poster

A light and frivolous film that breathes Nouvelle Vague. Structurally it's a bit clunky (with the pointless chapters), but Marchand is perfect, the black and white cinematography is alluring and the conversations are amusing. The film ended 5 minutes late, but definitely a nice first acquaintance with the work of Varda.

Faces Places

Visages Villages
2017 / 94m - France
Faces Places poster

Once one of the prime front-runners of the Nouvelle Vague, Varda ended her career making documentaries. I haven't seen many of her films yet, but based on this one and Cleo from 5 to 7, I think I like her narrative films a lot better. I found this to be quite self-indulging, pretentious and dull.

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Varda teams up with JR, a younger artist who blows up photographs and plasters them against walls. The both of them travel through France in the hope that they can be inspired by random people they meet and to create art based on their stories. That's pretty much all there is to it.

Too many moments seem (and no doubt are) scripted and inauthentic, the relationship between Varda and JR feels forced and the resulting art from their travels is bland. In the end I didn't care for these people, didn't care for the people they met and didn't care for their creative process nor output. But they sure seemed to love the camera.

The Gleaners & I

Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse
2000 / 82m - France
The Gleaners & I poster

I haven't seen too many Varda documentaries yet, but I don't think I'm a very big fan. She's an interesting and peculiar lady, but I don't seem to care for anything she does or has to say out of fiction. The Gleaners and I was another painful reminder that this type of human interest films are by far the worst thing cinema has to offer.

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Varda was inspired by a painting of "gleaners", people who pick up leftovers after the harvest and are permitted to do with the goods what they want. What you get is interviews with these people, and some digressions when Varda explores themes and subjects linked to the concept of gleaning.

The documentary looks terribly cheap, I didn't care for any of the people featured, nor for Varda's digressions. And that's it really. The doc reminded me of horrible TV interviews in human interest programs, the exact thing that has driven me to abandon TV and embrace cinema. A big nope for me.