Article by Louisa Stark // May 24, 2018
Agnès Varda is a veteran filmmaker and one of the earliest pioneers of French New Wave cinema, acclaimed for her films ‘Cleo from 5 to 7’ and ‘Vagabond’. Her latest directorial offering is ‘Augenblicke: Gesichter Einer Reise’, (‘Faces Places’ in English), a documentary in which she collaborates with the street artist enigmatically known as JR. His practice involves fly-posting huge black and white photographs in public locations, in a similar aesthetic to graffiti. At 33, he is generations apart from 89-year-old Varda, and yet this age-gap is effortlessly bridged; both artists have experienced being at the forefront of their creative fields and evidently hold each other’s work in mutual esteem.
Together, the unlikely duo embarks on a road trip through rural France in JR’s van, equipped with a photo-automat and large-format printer, leaving behind a trail of public artworks in the places that they pass through. The subjects of these works are the people who are encountered along the way, and therefore the stories that they tell form the heart of the film; these are captured on film under Varda’s direction and as photographs in JR’s distinctive, larger-than-life style. Watching the process of these pictures being plastered upon buildings, shipping containers and even freight trains provides a striking visual backdrop against which the funny, touching and insightful relationship between Varda and JR unfolds.
The film was a recipient of the Best Documentary Award at Cannes 2017 and, in anticipation of its release in German cinemas on May 31, Berlin Art Link is giving away two tickets to one reader to see ‘Augenblicke: Gesichter Einer Reise’ on the big screen. You can enter via our Facebook or Instagram by following us, liking the corresponding image, and tagging your friends in a comment.