FACES PLACES– Opens 27 November at Perth Festival

Directed  – Agnès Varda and JR  2017/France/89min/Classification G

Agnes Varda is not well known in Australia but in France she is a superstar. Her connections to cinema are decades old, her films have featured France’s most famous performers and her views on feminisim and social commentary are legendary.

Just this weekend, aged 89, she was awarded an honorary Oscar for her contributions to cinema. The trophy was presented by Angelina Jolie and vision of the two of them dancing on the stage has gone viral.

For this film she has teamed up with JR, a 30-something year old muralist.

The most unlikely of pairings, they travel the rural roads of France in JR’s van – a giant photobooth with an image of a camera on the side. Their aim is to capture the faces of ordinary villagers and share them with the world through large scale photo paste-ups.

It’s essentially a humanist art form showing that beauty can be found anywhere.

There are dock workers wives as totems on a wharf, a farmer pasted on to the side of his barn, the last remaining resident in a street of deserted miners’ cottages looking defiant from the walls, dead fish on a water towers and Varda’s own toes on the side of a train. 

For me the most delightful thing about the film was the inter-generational connection between Agnes Varda and JR. It is full of mutual admiration and an obvious real friendship but, like all true friendships, they do start to grate on each other. JR is never without his dark glasses and a hat, a fact that drives Varda crazy.

This film is opening the film season at the Perth Festival, commencing at Somerville from November 27. It won “Best Documentary’ at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

RATING: 4 out of 5 – Reviewed by Suzanne Worner