The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#126 Post by zedz » Sun Nov 08, 2020 5:04 pm

I had the Cine Tamaris box already, and my motivations for getting this were, in rough order of importance:

- Faces Places and Agnes by Varda (both of which I'd held off on getting individually in expectation of this set).
- Subtitled versions of Nausicaa and Quelques Veuves de Noirmoutier.
- Various new extras (not extensive, but of pretty good quality).
- BluRay upgrades of plenty of films.

If you don't already have the Cine Tamaris box, the bountiful extras from that (intros, short films etc.) are generally wonderful and are a compelling reason to get this edition.

Very nice packaging and presentation here, even it doesn't have a whimsical box of surprises hidden within.

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Noiretirc
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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#127 Post by Noiretirc » Sun Nov 08, 2020 6:03 pm

I'll annoy everyone who seems to be enjoying this (yellow tint and all) and ask again: What about the book?

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furbicide
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:52 am

Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#128 Post by furbicide » Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:05 pm

zedz wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 3:29 pm
I worked through this set watching the stuff I hadn't already seen (which didn't actually amount to much given the size of the set). Of the "new" extras, the best were Jane Birkin's and Martin Scorsese's vivid and eccentric personal memories of Varda. And it was great to finally see a subtitled Nausicaa, though it was bizarre that this suppressed feature was hidden away on the sub-menu of an unrelated film. It's a significant work, with a significant story behind it, yet it's treated as being more marginal than something like Les 3 boutons.
Very much agree – even as an unfinished work (and I wouldn't have known that was the case watching it), it still seems a major entry in her filmography for a number of reasons.

Is it possible that it could indicate a reluctance by Criterion to place an unremastered, not visually ideal work on the same pedestal as the other films in the set? If so, I hope they understand that comprehensiveness is much more valued by the sort of person who would buy this set than absence of imperfection (and yes, I'm still sore about the lack of inclusion of "minor" works such as this in the Bergman set).

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#129 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:09 am

Thanks for pointing this out zedz, I went through that disc without even knowing Nausicaa was included, since I had no desire to revisit One Sings, the Other Doesn't and wouldn't have thought to go into that film specifically to access this supplement! Bizarre to hide it, to hide it there, and not even list it as a separate film on the program (plus it's a better film than all three 'featured' works combined, by a mile)

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Noiretirc
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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#130 Post by Noiretirc » Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:36 pm

I'll try a different angle, because I'm stubborn:

Does the lavishly illustrated 200-page book, featuring notes on the films and essays on Varda’s life and work by writers Amy Taubin, Michael Koresky, Ginette Vincendeau, So Mayer, Alexandra Hidalgo, and Rebecca Bengal, as well as a selection of Varda’s photography and images of her installation art, shed new light on Varda's work and/or stand-up as a definitive book on her life and work?

(This could be the tipping point on buying this set for me.)

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#131 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:24 pm

Noiretirc wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:36 pm
Does the lavishly illustrated 200-page book, featuring notes on the films and essays on Varda’s life and work by writers Amy Taubin, Michael Koresky, Ginette Vincendeau, So Mayer, Alexandra Hidalgo, and Rebecca Bengal, as well as a selection of Varda’s photography and images of her installation art, shed new light on Varda's work and/or stand-up as a definitive book on her life and work?
Sorry Noiretirc, I haven't read the book yet. I just finished the set today (outside of some supplements) but I just skimmed the book, which seems to have essays organized around each disc's 'program' and then a few more sections on Varda's place as a feminist filmmaker, documentarian, and artistic inspiration, respectively. Pages 143-200 are photographs/liner notes. I can't speak to the specifics of the content, but from what I glanced at, it seems comprehensive. The later sections at least started with the writers speaking about screening her later films for students, so I assume new light is shed on her work since that context is used.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#132 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:07 pm

One Hundred and One Nights may be Varda’s most inventive non-documentary work (though a case can be made for Jane B being much more that that, which is the film this probably shares the most DNA with), embracing the ethos of keeping cinema alive through spirited social interaction; a combination of reworking and cementing the sensations via oral lore, recollecting memory, and also in physical embodiments. The film is interested in how concretely objective works are strained through personalized subjectivity to formulate meaning.

Visual and audio gags nodding or replicating past films or figures. The early Lumiere brothers visual pun, Godardian interruption of the little girl (during a discussion on Godard no less!), and random droppings of Varda’s references to her past films are all very creative inclusions in the first half hour alone- a playful ode to recycling ideas that addresses the divide between creation and imitation before throwing such a rigidly faux-distinction out the window and doing both in synchrony.

Truth is bended in exciting ways, like in Depardieu’s tales of his own experiences on set and Piccoli’s mistitling of these films, bringing forth their own self-reflexive gags, just as the various actors dropping titular linguistic puns into sentences do too (i.e. Schygulla’s Fassbinder nudge). I haven't watched other copies in existence, but the subtitles on the Criterion disc tend to highlight the gags in italics, which is helpful in catching them all, but also becomes another layer of utilizing the medium’s possibilities to signify information- especially the dialogue imitation-dubbing in the cafe, which is one of the more clever executions of sound-subtitle synthesis I can think of offhand. I also have to mention my love for the first Georges Delerue tribute, which functions in a scene most reminiscent (including of his score) for Day for Night, edited into the film seemingly superfluously, but this entire film is basically a collage of non sequiturs that serve to connote old and new ideas together at once.

Julie Gayet is wonderful as Camille, and the side-plot scenes with her and her boyfriend are welcome, serving as a modern contrast to the continuation of passion for the art form, and life form, in the next generation. Varda clearly appreciates the past, and is optimistic in looking ahead to the future, even if these young people can’t always fully appreciate the possibilities to recreate with equal value. In an early scene, they define post-new wave as the “breezy wave” with cheeky condescension; though still aware that the new wave was borrowing and reconfiguring cinema itself. Of course Varda is able to show them having fun by imitating art in their daily lives, which itself becomes an authentic experience in this film as both literally contributing to new cinema and in the examining of the existential buoyancy of youth. Varda hasn’t exactly been a stranger to inserting hip-hop music into her later works, and a scene of the new generation dancing to the music is an apperception, especially honing in on the one girl who was critical of “imitation” earlier, now unapologetically enjoying an art form that more explicitly engineers novel media from old materials. The young couple's ethereal star-eyed approach to life is very sensual, Gayet in particular summoning a kittenish familiarity found in the nouvelle vague films, skyrocketed into present-day and fueling the enthusiasm as the viewer's surrogate, who views cinema as the zenith of attractiveness incarnated.

The film is jam-packed with references, some glaringly obvious and some less consciously-addressed without fourth-wall winking. It’s a lot of fun, and instilled a nostalgic rapture in me for the capabilities of the magic of movies, in both its narrative and meta-layered delivery of content. Along with Jane B. par Agnes V. and Faces Places, this is Varda at her most exuberant, imaginative, and intelligent. There is one (of many) Godard analyses that takes a speech he made about Sauve Qui Peut (la vie)’s elicitation of audience response to “rise up against emptiness and repetition” that seems to be reframed in a glass-half-full thesis for this film. Varda trusts that the audience and modern artists can rise up against these practices in isolation, and then formulate their own ideas with unconditional passion and gratitude for the past: filling in empty space by repeating in a new way. For both her and Godard's outlooks, repetition itself doesn’t beget an absence of meaning, but for Varda instead of abstract thought being the key, she has more faith in life's course alone supporting the desired result. The ending imbues the second Delerue borrowing, this time in Contempt's score, to evoke the beauty of expression spawned from amour fou.
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Even if the film ends with a breakup involving unhealthy communication, the final images remain optimistic that we will engage in a lifelong process of repetition and find new experiences through their continual recontextualization. The last montage is from Mauvais Sang's famous scene of Lavant dancing through the streets, and here with a kiss Varda celebrates the emotions that can sometimes only be born to, and from, art. Not all of them are serene but all of them are positive when reframed in the light of being ripe with opportunities for enhanced communication. The breakup may show a deficit, but the juxtaposition with the three reiterations of scenes from past films suggest a bright future to grow from that moment, learn to pronounce our thoughts and emotions over time, and achieve glimpses of grace. Thankfully we can get this sensation from watching movies in the interim, and these viewings will in turn give us tools to express what we may not be able to without them. What a lovely pronouncement, ironically tacked onto what should be the most depressing, anti-climactic scene in the film.. only in the movies!

manisconcia
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:55 pm

Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#133 Post by manisconcia » Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:04 pm

Is the Agnes Varda collection region free? I see sales on eBay claiming region A but according to criterion website FAQs and blu ray. Com it is region free....

Calvin
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:12 am

Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#134 Post by Calvin » Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:45 pm

manisconcia wrote:Is the Agnes Varda collection region free? I see sales on eBay claiming region A but according to criterion website FAQs and blu ray. Com it is region free....
Yes, it is.

lastrade
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:42 pm

Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#135 Post by lastrade » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:09 am

Is anyone apart from Amazon selling this in the UK yet? I don't want to get stung with customs charges again!

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EddieLarkin
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:25 am

Re: The Complete Films of Agnès Varda

#136 Post by EddieLarkin » Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:14 am

Getting "stung with customs charges" is now a thing of the past in the UK, owing to VAT rule changes implented on Jan 1st. All non-UK online shops selling to the UK are now required to charge UK VAT at checkout, at any price level (i.e. no more £15 threshold). Any commercial orders shipped into the UK that have not had the VAT collected by the seller, will be sent back (wheras before, this action would prompt the dreaded grey slip from RM).

So anywhere selling this set for UK delivery should be charging 20% at checkout, and you won't get any further charges. If you find it somewhere that isn't applying this charge though, I would not recommend ordering, as you may never see it.

A number of shops (JB Hifi in Aus) have refused to ship anything to the UK now due to this change.

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