The World of Jacques Demy (L’univers de Jacques Demy) (1995)

AGNES VARDA

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  //, 1995.  , , , , , , , , .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by , .  Music by Film Editing by

Agnes Varda follows two films about her late husband Jacques Demy, Jacquot De Nantes and Les Demoiselles Ont Eu 25 Ans, with a documentary that encompasses his life and career.  Made with all the intelligence, expertise and love that she infuses in her non-fiction films, with a particular affection for the husband and colleague she lost so young to AIDS when he was only 59, Varda’s summation of Demy avoids typical biographical filmmaking (the chronological cataloging of events), and instead finds an emotional path in which each film’s theme provides a segueway to the next chapter. Exploring not just the films themselves but their effect on audiences, Varda includes commentary on the ones that succeeded (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Donkey Skin) and the ones that really didn’t (Parking, Une Chambre En Ville, the failures of which he seemed to take well in stride) while interviewing both the famous actors he collaborated with (, ), as well as his fans (the young woman who says that when Demy died it meant she had to grow up is genuinely touching).  It’s a love letter as much as it is an encyclopedic entry in the book of cinema, and Varda’s always healthy command of both the mind and the heart serves her well.  It was following this film’s release that she returned to her own subjects, beginning with the critical success of The Gleaners and I in 2000 that led to a new chapter in her career as an acclaimed director.

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