Screened as part of NZIFF 2005
These three short films by the French New Wave’s 76-year-old doyenne Agnès Varda (The Gleaners and I) have been programmed together by the filmmaker herself. Each explores the subject of still photography and all resonate together in fascinating ways. The recent Ydessa, the Bears and Etc… explores a provocatively massive exhibition created by Ydessa Hendeles, a wealthy Toronto gallery owner/curator, consisting of thousands of photos taken during the first half of the 20th-century: group portraits, many of them families, and every single one of them containing at least one teddy bear. Ulysse, made in 1982, revisits the participants in an enigmatic tableau Varda composed and shot in 1954 on a rock-strewn beach with a naked man, a young boy and a dead goat. In Salut les Cubains, completed in 1963, Varda animated the 1,800 black-and-white photos she took in Cuba into a giddy celebration of the heyday of Castro’s revolution.
“Three strange, mesmerizing short films… For photo buffs and Varda fans, it’s a can’t-miss.” — Andrew O’Hehir, salon.com