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Review: Faces Places

October 27, 2017

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

Agnes Varda is one of the most influential filmmakers from the French New Wave, and JR is a young street photographer.  He is young, and she is old, but they are able to see eye to eye on many things and they share a similar artistic spirit.

Together, they have teamed up to create Faces Places, an often fun mix of documentary and travelogue that finds the two of them setting out on a road trip through the French countryside in JR’s photo truck, which looks like a giant camera.  They take pictures of regular people and print out large scale versions to be plastered on buildings, immortalizing the images of local villagers, farmers, and even the wives of dockworkers through gigantic murals.

Along the way, Agnes Varda reflects on her career and old age, but this is also one of her most playful works, and the friendship that blossoms between her and JR is often immensely charming to watch.  She teases him about the fact that he always wears dark shades, an aspect of JR’s character that reminds Agnes Varda of her filmmaking contemporary and old friend Jean-Luc Godard.  The result is a delightful film that provides a wonderful portrait of two artists coming together to create something unique and special.

Faces Places is now playing in limited release at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

A version of this review was originally published during the Toronto International Film Festival.

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