Agnès Varda Film Series to Screen at BAMcinématek

Agnès Varda shooting “Lions Love (and Lies…)”: PhotoFest

Now is your chance to catch up on — or revisit — the works of Agnès Varda. Brooklyn’s BAMcinématek has announced an upcoming six-film series celebrating the acclaimed auteur’s work. Widely considered one of the most influential filmmakers in modern French cinema, Varda briefly located to California in the late-1960s and 80s. It’s this time period that the film series, titled “Varda in California,” commemorates.

“Varda has often derived inspiration from her surroundings,” a press release from BAMcinématek notes. “Soaking in the people, landscapes, and politics of Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay area, Varda created films that reflect life in America as only an outsider (she) could see it. Eschewing the ever-present specter of Hollywood, Varda instead became fascinated by the political and social movements roiling the state’s sunny demeanor.”

Films screening include 1980’s “Mur Murs,” a documentary about murals in La and the artists who created them, and 1981’s “Documenteur,” a work of autobiographical fiction that centers on a French mother and son’s search to find a home in La.

“Varda in California” runs from May 31 to June 13. Check out the full schedule and synopses of the films below, courtesy of BAMcinématek. For more information and tickets, head over to BAMcinématek’s site.

Wed, May 31

4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Thu, Jun 1

4:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

7pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

9:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Fri, Jun 2

2pm: Model Shop4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Sat, Jun 3

2pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Model Shop9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Sun, Jun 4

2pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

4:30pm: Model Shop

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

Mon, Jun 5

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

Tue, Jun 6

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Wed, Jun 7

4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Thu, Jun 8

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Model Shop

9:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

Fri, Jun 9

4:30pm: Model Shop

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Sat, Jun 10

7pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

9:30pm: Model Shop

Sun, Jun 11

2pm: Model Shop

4:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

7pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

9:30pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

Mon, Jun 12

8pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Tue, Jun 13

4:30pm: Documenteur + Uncle Yanco

7pm: Lions Love (…and Lies)

9:30pm: Mur Murs + Black Panthers

Film Descriptions

*All films play multiple times throughout the series.*All films directed by Agnès Varda unless otherwise noted.

Black Panthers (1968) An unapologetically radical dispatch from the front lines of the Black Powermovement: Varda profiles members of the Black Panther Party as they fight for the freedom of imprisonedactivist Huey P. Newton. Dcp. 30min.

Documenteur (1981) With Sabine Mamou, Mathieu Demy, Tom Taplin. This moving work of autobiographical fiction follows a young French woman in Los Angeles as she copes with a recent breakup and wanders the city in search of a home for her and her son. Aptly subtitled “An Emotion Picture,” the mysterious, serenely melancholic Documenteur captures Varda’s ambivalent feelings about America. Dcp. 65min.

Lions Love (. . . And Lies) (1969) With Viva, James Rado, Gerome Ragni. This irresistibly kooky time capsule takes a bevy of 60s counterculture luminaries — Warhol superstar Viva, the creators of Hair, and filmmaker Shirley Clarke — and throws them together in a luxe Hollywood home. Madness ensues, as they make prank calls, “try out” parenting with a bunch of borrowed children, and revel in the joys of free love. It’s a wildly funny perspective on the hippy-dippy oddity of La as seen by Varda. Dcp. 90min.

Model Shop (1969) Dir. Jacques Demy. With Anouk Aimée, Gary Lockwood, Alexandra Hay. Jacques Demy, along with his wife Varda, ventured to Hollywood for the one and only time in his career to make this tender, quintessentially La movie about the brief but momentous encounter between a failed architect (Lockwood) and a French erotica model (Aimée). It’s a gorgeous, pastel love letter to the “real” La — its sprawling freeways, parking lots, and seedy margins — far removed from the Dream Factory fantasy. Dcp.97min.

Mur Murs (1980) Varda takes her camera through the streets of late-70s Los Angeles to document the vibrant murals that cover the walls of the city and the artists who made them. Mur Murs is both an essential record of La’s street art and a lively celebration of the city’s diversity. Dcp. 80min.

Uncle Yanco (1967) Varda’s first American film — in which she journeys to meet a long lost bohemian relative living in Sausalito — is a freewheeling family affair that grooves on the good vibes of sun-kissed 60s California. Dcp. 18min.

Agnès Varda Film Series to Screen at BAMcinématek was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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