This is a documentary about the shops on the street Varda lived in — and as usual with Varda, it’s very wistful and emotional. These hand-written signs… these are shops you know won’t last much longer — they’re remnants of an earlier time that would soon disappear. So it’s a movie full of nostalgia for something that hasn’t disappeared yet.
This is not one of those documentaries where you drop by with a camera un-announced. Everybody’s been warned, and are putting their best foot forward — everybody’s got their hair done up nicely, and are presenting their wares, so you get tableaux like this…
(But I’m guessing Varda herself arranged some of this scenery, which makes it even more artificial.)
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry for this scene. And I have to ask myself if my life is somehow similar to her.
It’s a moving documentary — the couple in the parfumerie is just heartreaking… but some of the things Varda does here doesn’t quite work. They’re too artificial — like the scene with the magician? I just found that really boring, but that may be just me — I’ve got an antipathy towards magic… But moreover, the forced parallels between the stage magic and the “real” stuff was groan-worthy.
She already had gold with the less staged sequences! They’re ⚅ sequences, but I’m going with:
Daguerréotypes. Agnès Varda. 1975. ⚄