Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. France, 1993. Ciné Tamaris. Screenplay by Agnes Varda. Cinematography by Alexandre Auffort, Stephane Krausz, Patrick Mounoud, Georges Strouve, Agnes Varda. Music by Michel Legrand, Jacques Loussier.
It’s astounding how much love and affection Agnes Varda packs into 64 very short minutes. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of her late husband Jacques Demy‘s much lauded The Young Girls Of Rochefort, the surviving cast and crew of the film travel to the film’s titular French town for a celebration, unearthing a treasure trove of nostalgia and delight that began when filming caused waves there in 1966 and continues many years later. Varda weaves footage from the film as well as her own very charming behind the scenes clips into interviews with Catherine Deneuve, looking elegant and sounding joyful as she also attends the ceremonies. Her participation also includes a screening and dedications of two town roads to Demy as well as to Françoise Dorléac, Deneuve’s sister and co-star who died in a car accident not long after filming was complete (ever the private star, Deneuve never gets into it very deep with us, but her blowing a kiss to her sister’s street sign is immensely touching). Most wonderful are the interviews with people in the town who appeared in the film, proud of their contribution to one of cinema’s most charming concoctions and thrilled to relive their memories, not to mention their joy at the fact that their quiet hamlet, which had been threatened by the closure of factories in the post-war years, enjoys a tourism industry to this day thanks to being immortalized by its place in cinema history. A wonderful good time, nostalgic and heartfelt, and the adoration that the filmmaker has for her husband pours out of every frame.