Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. France, 1955. Ciné Tamaris. Screenplay by Agnes Varda. Cinematography by Louis Soulanes, Louis Stein, Paul Soulignac. Music by Pierre Barbaud. Film Editing by Alain Resnais.
Agnes Varda, the Emily Carr of the Nouvelle Vague, made her feature debut with this unenthusiastic but poignant film. Taking a page from Visconti, she employs non-professional actors from the town of Pointe-Courte and puts them in a dire situation as they deal with the sickness and death of one of the local children. Meanwhile, professional actors (one of them a very young Philippe Noiret) enact the story of a married couple who have come back to the village of the wife’s birth in order to sort out their relationship. The two narratives, one grainy and awkward, the other polished and professional, run along side by side quite comfortably with each other, and Varda shows immense talent with creating images from the very start of her illustrious career. It isn’t the most important film in the New Wave movement, but it is notable for calling audience attention to this great artist.