East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Cinévardaphoto, or, Worth 139 words [SFIFF '05 movie note]

Three shorts by Agnès Varda, the best being the new one, Ydessa, the Bears and Etc..., an exploration of the asymmetric curator Ydessa Hendeles's exhibition of teddy bear snapshots. Elevating the display's provocation into art, Varda milks the pics for every drop of melancholy. Yet she's playful, inventing narratives to connect them. Studying one photo, she follows the criss-crossed gazes of its subjects, working out who's looking at who.

Ulysse is the boy in a photo taken by Varda in 1954 (the short was made in 1982.) He's forgotten the photo, which also features a naked man and a dead goat, but he remembers the painting he made of the scene. Varda remembers all, reminiscing about the era.

Only the third short, Salut les Cubains, fails: this hagiography of a nation could be a tourist brochure by Castro.


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