At the sea shore, a goat, a child, and a naked man. This is a photograph taken in 1954 by Agnès Varda. The goat was dead, the child was named Ulysses, and the man was naked. Starting from this frozen image, the film explores the real and the imaginary.
Agnès Varda has been called the “Grandmother of the New Wave,” a well-meaning if curious tribute for a woman who directed her first feature film at the age of 26. Born in Brussels, Varda studied literature and psychology at the Sorbonne, and art history at the École du Louvre. She’d originally wanted to be a museum curator, but a night-school course in photography changed her mind. Rapidly establishing herself as a top-rank still photographer, Varda became the official cameraperson for the Theatre Festival of Avignon and the Theatre National Populaire, and then pursued a career as a photojournalist.
Encouraged by filmmaker Alain Resnais, Varda made her movie directorial bow in 1955 with La Pointe Courte. She based the film on a William Faulkner short story, to which she was attracted because of its parallel plotlines (a recurring device in her later films). That same year, she accompanied another future New Wave director, Chris Marker, to China as visual advisor for his Dimanche… read more
I feel the photograph in it self asks a lot of questions in a very suggestive and poetic way. The film rides on this wave of mystery and widens it by putting it in a context without taking away the magic by answering to much.
A photograph. One which could have been shot yesterday or thirty years ago. Each viewer will see what they want in it. Varda takes us on a journey looking at a photo she took in 1954 shortly before shooting her first feature. The story of why, what happended to the subjects and what was happening outside the shot. A fascinating and wonderful short by the great documentarist Varda. A treat.