Documenteur (1981)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  

USA/France, 1981.  .  Screenplay by Agnes Varda.  Cinematography by , , .  Music by .  Film Editing by , .  

Agnes Varda followed the shooting of her excellent documentary Mur Murs with this intelligent and absorbing fictional film.  It’s about a recently divorced French woman who is getting her act together with her young son (played by Varda’s own son ) in a culturally barren landscape that she finds difficult to penetrate.  She works a mundane job and tries to make a home of the ramshackle apartment that she has rented for the two of them, her days livened up by the occasional liaison or the odd bit of down time with her child.  Spare and subtle, the film is rife with sexy imagery and intelligent observation, as much about a woman’s trying to assemble her own identity as it is an arthouse take on female melodrama, bolstered by Varda’s delicate direction and self-control (a mere 65 minute running time) and ‘s terrific performance in the lead (she also serves as co-editor).   Unable to shake off her last film discoveries, Varda also includes  a few more wall murals for good measure.

Toronto International Film Festival:  1981


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