Monday, 30 October 2017

Faces Places (2017 EIFF 12)

The critics are raving about this unique documentary made by photographer/muralist J.R. and filmmaker Agnès Varda. Mostly for good reason. Varda and J.R. travel around rural France, taking photos of people, listening to their stories and then plastering huge versions of the photos onto buildings. The primary theme of Faces Places is worker solidarity. When in pursuit of that theme, the film is often riveting. 

Faces Places would be a great documentary for its humanization alone, but it also offers many humorous and profound observations from Varda and J.R. as the 89-year-old director and the young photographer get to know each other in the process of making this film together. It often feels like a quirky road movie.

Faces Places is a true work of art, but for me it wasn’t perfect and I can’t give it ****. The first half of the film is truly amazing, as engaging and moving as it is profound. But for me the second half lagged a bit, both in the stories of the people Varda and J.R. meet as well as their own interactions. For me, the focus on the filmmakers wears a little thin in the second half.

Nevertheless, this is a wonderful documentary that I recommend to all. Faces Places gets a solid ***+. My mug is up.

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