Jacquot De Nantes is Agnes Varda’s ode to her late husband, the celebrated Jacques Demy. It is her poignant parting gift to him, wrapped in sharp black and white, mainly a dramatization of his memoirs, interspersed by excerpts in full saturated colour from his films, and by snatches from an interview with him on a beach.
She seeks to capture the spirit of Demy as artist, and finds it in the innocence and joy of his childhood and in his discovery of his metier while watching the Guignol shows.
The film’s charm depends on the faithful and painstaking period depiction of pre-World War II France, and on the wonderful characterization of Demy’s stages of life by Philippe Maron, Edouard Joubeaud and Laurent Monnier.
Demy passed on at the yet young age of 59. The long searching close-ups of his face reveal a wistfulness and an acceptance of what was a known inevitability. Agnes Varda, in the process of this film, immortalized for herself the best-loved aspects of her husband of 33 years, and the best loved facets of a world that nurtured him and made him possible as a cineaste and an artist.