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Entries in La Pointe Courte (1)

Thursday
Jun042015

Women's Pictures: Agnes Varda's La Pointe Courte

When Agnes Varda was honored at Cannes in May, a lot of titles were tossed around: Ancestor of the French New Wave, New Wave's Godmother/Mother/etc. But I began to wonder: how accurate are those titles? Can we safely lump Agnes Varda, photographer-cum-director-cum-documentarian, into the French New Wave boys club? After all, the New Wave conjurs very specific images: detached Frenchmen smoking cigarettes in black and white, long takes, jarring edits, staged closeups and jazz soundtracks. Does this mesh with our dimunitive director?

More seriously, the French New Wave represents a specific group of radical individuals. They were cinephiles and critics whose radical new ideas came from a love of film, and a conscious decision to reject classical cinema. Varda, by contrast, freely admits that she'd almost never seen a film before her 1955 debut, La Pointe Courte. So is she New Wave? Ur-New Wave? In parallel or in contrast? I don't have the answers yet, I just have a Hulu+ account and some books on French Film. It's going to be a hell of a month.

La Pointe Courte is an improbable film debut.

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