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Quelques veuves de Noirmoutier

This is a documentary made for TV, and it’s got a simple concept (as is often the case with Varda’s movies) — she interviews a bunch of widows who all live on the same little island.

They talk about their (dead) husbands and their lives and stuff. It’s pretty interesting.

And as usual with Varda, she doesn’t do “verité” but lets people present themselves as they prefer.

This is a really strong documentary — and it’s really touching. (Have plenty of mouchoirs ready.) But it’s also funny and endearing.

Quelques veuves de Noirmoutier. Agnès Varda. 2006.

And… I think this might be the last Varda movie in this box set? (I may be wrong and there might be a couple more shorts after this…) But in an case, let’s have a look at the box.

It’s got two covers, one with young Varda and one with old Varda.

The format is unusual as DVD box sets go — it’s an awkward size: Not so large that it becomes A Thing, but large enough that it’s not a cute little thing, either. If that makes any kind of sense.

The blu rays are housed in a cardboard book, and lists the major movies on each disc.

And there’s an accompanying book with essays and stuff.

There’s even stuff on the inside of the box!

So — it’s a kind of neat box, and… it’s exhausting! I mean… I love Varda’s movies, so I’m the kind of person that has to, by gum, watch everything on every disc. And there’s so much stuff! It’s wonderful!

What I’m saying is: I wish every director could have as fabulous box as this, but I probably didn’t watch it in the optimal way: When I start watching something like this, I feel a compulsion to be done with it before I start on the next thing? It makes no sense: I could sensibly watch one of these discs per year or whatever, but instead I ploughed through and watched it all, and for each hour of her “main movies”, there were (at least) two hours of shorts, documentaries and commentaries.

And I guess the reason that it’s possible to make a box set like this is because Varda had her own production company for most of her life (Ciné Tamaris), so she owned the rights to her own movies. And she was also interested in revisiting her movies, so when a new DVD edition was released, she sometimes made a documentary about that movie; seeing what had happened in the intervening years. And it’s fascinating stuff, much of it.

Compare with Criterion’s Bergman box — which is (physically) twice the size, but is not complete, and does not exhaustively include every TV appearance and discussion etc…

Er… did I have a point here? Uhm. Probably not. I have to make dinner now.

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