Faces Places

I saw this lovely documentary last week, called Faces Places.  As the NZIFF says, ” In this utterly charming documentary, octogenarian French director Agnès Varda takes to the road with the young photo-muralist JR, creating artworks, looking up old friends and finding new ones.”

Partly I loved it as it traversed the French countryside but mostly because of its humanity and the beautiful photos they made. Agnes Varda is a quirky, lively and highly intelligent woman and weirdly I had been unwittingly following her fellow photographer, JR’s Instagram where Agnes continues to feature.

Film columnist, Amy Taubin continues, ”

“88-year-old Agnès Varda, working in collaboration with the young photo-muralist JR, reminds us that big themes can live in small places – and that every life yields something to celebrate. As the two travel across France, looking up old friends and creating artworks from photographs of the people they meet, a friendship blossoms, and with it a wonderful free flow of ideas and observations.”

“She is nearly 90; he is 34. She worked with Jean-Luc Godard; he looks like Jean-Luc Godard (and, much to Varda’s consternation, will similarly not take off his sunglasses). And yet, the movie is barely five minutes old before it’s clear that these two are a screen duo for the ages… 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)… Teasing at times, quietly deferential at others, 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

“In her magnificent, groundbreaking, nearly 60-year career, this is one of her most profoundly personal and exuberantly populist works. A tour de France that is both a romp and a meditation on photography, cinema, and mortality, with brief appearances by Mimi, the scene-stealing cat, it is at once poetry and the naked truth, shape-shifting before one’s eyes, and promising ever more pleasure with each viewing.” — Amy Taubin, Film Comment

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Image result for faces places

I have yet to figure out why JR carts a cardboard copy of Agnes about but I suspect it is because she is unable to attend things like Hollywood award shows.

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Regardless, I highly recommend it if you want a leisurely, touching viewing.


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and a PS about Whips.

I had the privilege of being the celebrant at a very old friend’s (as in years, we are both spring chickens really), son’s wedding. It was in Christchurch and it reminds me how much clearer the seasons are down there.  There are very distinct markers of the different seasons. I still have the double doors wide open here in Auckland and even though it is stormy it is still very warm. Christchurch is around 16-18 degrees during a nice day in Autumn and drops to a much cooler evening temperature.

Fortunately the wedding day warmed and cleared by mid afternoon and the ceremony was held in the Edmonds Factory Gardens which was well-dressed in her autumn finery.

It was a perfect place for the exchange of vows on a lovely autumnal day.

I was also lucky to be staying with friends in their beautiful villa. They are keen gardeners (well, one of them is) and the head gardener says he likes a faint air of neglect about his garden. Nothing too pristine. It is gorgeous.

Sculptures by Graham Bennett

Inside this villa I spend my time pulling the smooth running roman blinds up and down, (it is so satisfying) and admiring yet another vignette I hadn’t noticed before. It is not “artful”, bought for effect from a designer interiors shop, but rather a visual history, memory and future  of lives lived in this place for a long time. It is emphatically not a museum, always new books, and materials and interesting artwork. 

I spent minutes at a time, just looking at the way these flowers arranged themselves.
A bear and a bag, time travelling.
The perfect red.

I understand the move towards clutter free and vaguely try at times, but there is such pleasure in memory of times past and visiting my friends has helped me get over the  “too much stuff” mantra and enjoy my things. I have rarely bought anything without a memory to go with it,  the little brass and very wonky candlestick from a junk shop outside Versaille, for example. It doesn’t serve any “useful”purpose but it does vividly remind me of that lovely day in Paris. It has also reminded me that it needs a good clean with Brasso! The tile beneath it was a gift from a friend while we were travelling in Spain.

One small candlestick can really trigger a wealth of sensations of a day at Versailles.

One of my favourite things in my friends’ villa is the nature table. The very name swings me back to primary school where we had a slightly dusty collection of birds’ nests, tiny stones, leaves, seed heads and bird skeletons. The musty smell of earth and dying shell fish gets right up my nose just thinking about it.

This modern equivalent is set up in my friends’ house because they have a couple of young neighbours who are regular callers. They contribute to the table as well. I think it is a work of art.

Thank you for a lovely visit. You know who you are.

On another topic, I am becoming concerned with my binge tendencies, no, not alcohol but rather Netflix et al. A friend gave me 8 series of Game of Thrones! A disaster for my social life or even my ability to be civil on the phone. I am completely ambivalent about women’s roles in the series but I can see that I will end up watching all of the episodes. That means, I’m a couch potato who is short with people on the phone and I am definitely reading less right now. I have two favourite characters …

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Totally in love with half-man, Imp.

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Arya must be the best 10 year old role model for girls around.

And finally as a PS to my last post, a young friend sent me this article.

Now I’m in my 50s, young men want to date me: Welcome to the world of WHIPS. Read more here 

I’m not sure it applies quite the same to women in their 60s … but hey we Whip(per snappers) are around.

Have a good day. FG