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681 Ratings

Mur Murs

Directed by Agnès Varda
France, 1981


Venturing from Venice Beach to Watts, Varda looks at the murals of LA as backdrop to and mirror of the city’s many cultures. She casts a curious eye on graffiti and photorealism, roller disco & gang violence, evangelical Christians, Hare Krishnas, artists, angels and ordinary Angelenos.

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Mur Murs Directed by Agnès Varda
As ever, Varda’s penchant for creative diversions (such as an interlude on tattoos and car art) and ear for the rhythms of urban life (multiple sequences pause to simply absorb the sounds and music of the streets) add to the textural richness of a work with no shortage of visual pleasures at its disposal. It’s such an infectious, idyllic vision that it’s startling to think that something several times more sobering could be conjured from the same wellspring of experience.
October 13, 2016
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Today, it would seem that some murals may only exist in Ms. Varda’s movie. “Mur Murs” ranks with Thom Andersen’s compilation film “Los Angeles Plays Itself” as a photographic monument of what, thanks to the movies, may be the world’s most photographed city.
August 06, 2015
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Time has not been kind to Mur Murs. Having been recorded on video has unfortunately dated the film’s somewhat crude aesthetic. But what it lacks in visual quality, it more than makes up for in formal innovation… In a film filled with indelible images, Varda’s humanist touch is best illustrated by a sequence examining a portrait by Twichell, which covers the side of an unemployment office…
November 19, 2014
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What are people saying?

  • roserine kenlew's rating of the film Mur Murs

    Understated, playful, and captivating. Varda guides us through show-and-tell in Mur Murs: narration and imagery coalesce and present a behemoth city in an intimate and accessible way. The singular subject--murals-- captures a diverse cast of activists, roller disco dancers, painters with bad 80s hair, religious fanatics, cholos and existentialists. Art mimicking life mimicking art mimicking life.

  • Zac Weber's rating of the film Mur Murs

    An absolutely beautiful love letter to Los Angeles and its people. Agnès Varda has unbelievable skill matching images to create symbolic, poetic meaning. There are a number of striking images that come to mind: The children beating the piñata while the adults spoke about police violence, the pig mural centered as the "Farmer" logo truck rolls in to the frame. Mur Murs has everything you want from a documentary.

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Mur Murs

    Agnes Varda has a magical way of using a very specific theme as a pretext for telling a much larger story. She approaches her subjects with a waifish wisdom that is beautiful, charming, shrewd, and magnificent.

  • Richmond Hill's rating of the film Mur Murs

    Although working a familiar trope - the outsider looking in on seemingly mundane aspects of the USA - Varda draws insight beyond the pictorial with calm clarity and ruminative good grace. The pitfalls of worthy social metaphor are avoided with a subtle and kind eye. A good candidate to demonstrate films as evolving forms, which unlike the proverbial stone do gather extra meaning and textured tang with time.

  • Jason's rating of the film Mur Murs

    Los Angeles is a place that possesses fairly romantic connotations for me despite the fact that on many levels it is a sleazy, woebegone hellhole. Mur Murs speaks to what appeals to me about Los Angeles, and does so w/ a committed attitude of engagement, wonder, and curiosity. The murals, as well as those who make them and those who live amidst them, suggest a place of colliding elsewheres. This is interculture.

  • msmichel's rating of the film Mur Murs

    Varda leaves us an interesting time capsule from 1981 capturing the artistic expression of the residents of East L.A. through the remarkable murals throughout the city. Time and urban reinvention have displaced most but the endeavour for expression continues.

  • dan's rating of the film Mur Murs

    not really interested on wall painting and graffiti but this piece is full of cultural, social, political and cinematic substance. I think Varda can turn a film about chocolate muffins into a sociological treatise

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Mur Murs

    If the door and the window allow for openness and freedom the wall's functionality of closure and limitation is (Platonically) elevated, aestheticized and given voice in ways that open space, imagine communities, mourn loved ones, sublimate violence, secularize transcendence. Irony, humor and politics never take control of the disinterested perspective that turns a trompe l'oeil impression to a philosophy of history.

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