Agnès Varda – Jane B. par Agnès V. AKA Jane B. for Agnes V. (1988)


There is a good theory that explains why Agnes Varda’s Jane B. for Agnes V. was never officially distributed in the United States. Apparently, the few distributors that saw it after Varda completed it in 1988 concluded that it was too abstract and therefore too risky to sign. So until recently, it had been screened only a few times at festivals and retrospectives.

Having just viewed Jane B. for Agnes V. for the first time ever, I can agree that it is different. It is a fluid experimental project that matches the audacity of Jean-Luc Godard’s early films and the quiet elegance of Eric Rohmer’s best films, but feels distinctively modern. There is a side of it that easily could have been envisioned by the late Chantal Akerman as well. There was a script for it, but once Varda started shooting the film evolved and actually expanded in different directions. (Le Petit Amout aka Kung-Fu Master! emerged as a natural continuation of this expansion). Continue reading

Jacques Tati – Jour de fête AKA The Village Fair [1964 re-edited version] (1949)


Jacques Tati’s award-winning feature début – a dazzling blend of satire and slapstick is early evidence of his unique talent. Acclaimed by international critics as an innovative comic masterpiece, Jour de fête is an hilarious exposé of the modern obsession with speed and efficiency, set amidst the rural surroundings of a tiny French village. Tati plays an appealingly self-deluded buffoon a postman who, impressed by the bristling efficiency of the American postal system, makes a wholly misguided attempt to introduce modern methods in the depths of rural France. Continue reading

Maurice Pialat – Le garçu (1995)


Synopsis wrote:
A self-centered man (Gérard Depardieu) with many diversions occasionally visits his 4-year-old son (Antoine Pialat) and the boy’s mother (Géraldine Pailhas).

Janet Maslin @ Nytimes wrote:
Having played far-flung movie characters from Cyrano de Bergerac to a Disneyfied friendly ghost, Gerard Depardieu finds one of his most interesting roles closer to home. He plays a well-heeled, powerful Frenchman named Gerard in a new film by Maurice Pialat, the subtle and disturbing film maker with whom Mr. Depardieu has worked so well (in ”Loulou,” ”Police” and ”Under Satan’s Sun”). Continue reading

Claude Chabrol – Madame Bovary (1991)


In nineteenth-century France, the romantic daughter of a country squire marries a dull country doctor Charles Bovary. To escape boredom, she throws herself into love affairs with a suave local landowner and a law student, and runs up ruinous debts. This film version closely follows Flaubert’s novel and includes most of the famous scenes, such as the wedding, the ball, the agricultural fair, the operation on the clubfoot, and the opera in Rouen. (IMDb) Continue reading