Given the current recommendation to stay home and practice social distancing, we at the Chicago International Film Festival are looking at past selections from each year of the Festival that you can stream now from home. Stream our past selections as we look forward to the 56th Chicago International Film Festival this October 14-25, 2020. Find the full 56 Films for 56 Years selections here.
Today’s #56Films entry, recommended by film critic Kat Sachs, is the idiosyncratic travelogue documentary Faces Places from beloved friend of the Festival Agnés Varda and street artist JR.
Directors: Agnés Varda and JR
53rd Chicago International Film Festival
In this idiosyncratic documentary, legendary French filmmaker Agnès Varda teams up with street artist JR, a pairing that, in hindsight, feels like a passing of the torch from one generation’s preeminent humanist artist to the next. The duo roams around various French villages, taking photos and pasting them, à la JR’s signature style, on surfaces ranging from residential housing to shipping containers. They forge connections with the people they encounter, whether in person or through memories, but the film is more than a collection of charming vignettes—it’s representative of Varda’s singular documentary practice, which comes across in the genial self-reflexivity, unconstrained editing, and, finally, the director’s masterful gift for drawing out her subjects both in still and moving images. For many viewers, this was or will be an entrée into Varda’s career, though, as Varda has said, “I had a world. I don’t think I had a career. I made films.” Whether, for you, it’s the beginning or the end (it’s Varda’s second-to-last film, before Varda by Agnès, released after she died last year), Faces Places is undeniably a reflection of her world, one that will leave you clamoring for more. – Kat Sachs, Chicago Reader, Cine-File