Panorama | Spotlight on France
The great Agnès Varda, now 89, hits the road in a van with superstar French photographer JR, 55 years her junior, in search of the people and their villages—the faces and the places—that define rural France and make it what it is. Varda, who is short and plump and given to matronly outfits, and JR, who is long and lean and never without his trademark fedora and sunglasses, make for the definitive big screen odd couple, yet the warmth they share is both genuine and infectious—and often very funny. As the two artists travel the countryside, inviting villagers to pose for JRs camera—the massive prints he produces in the back of the van are then affixed to various buildings—a poignant note is injected when we learn that Varda is losing her sight, which is perhaps one reason for her insatiable curiosity and her desire to capture each passing moment. This is one road movie that really does celebrate the transformative power of art, and our two wise and witty tour guides make for unforgettable hosts.
"If Faces Places is Agnès Varda’s last film, it’s a profoundly moving and absolutely essential farewell…Funny, life-affirming, and altogether wonderful… Varda has always possessed a warm and compulsively watchable screen presence, and the pint-sized iconoclast… still has more pep in her step than most of us have ever had… JR is an absolute joy (and a mensch, to boot)… he taps into his co-star’s inherent sense of wonder and creates a canvas big enough for her to fit all of the ideas that she’s still dying to project."—David Ehrlich, IndieWire