CINELICIOUS PICS & CINE-TAMARIS PRESENT:
JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V.
“I’ll look at you, but not at the camera. It could be a trap,” whispers Jane Birkin shyly into Agnès Varda‘s ear at the start of JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. The director of CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 and VAGABOND once again paints a portrait of a woman, this time in a marvelously Expressionistic way. “It’s like an imaginary bio-pic,” says Varda. Jane, of course, is the famed singer (“Je t’aime … Moi non plus”), actress (BLOW UP), fashion icon (the Hermes Birkin bag) and longtime muse to Serge Gainsbourg. As Varda implies, JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. abandons the traditional bio-pic format, favoring instead a freewheeling mix of gorgeous and unexpected fantasy sequences.
Newly-restored from the original 35mm camera negative, overseen by director Varda herself. The film has a quirky appeal. With a blend of personal narrative juxtaposed with fine art and Greek history, Birkin speaks of her life, fears, future plans. Varda leads her through a wondering maze of musing. It’s an unusual and unique peak into the mind of both women.
A lovely, bittersweet companion piece to JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V., KUNG-FU MASTER! has nothing to do with martial arts – the film’s title comes from an arcade video game played obsessively in the film by a teenaged boy, Julien (played by Varda’s real-life son with husband Jaques Demy). Jane Birkin delivers one of her finest performances as a lonely 40-year old woman who finds herself falling in love with the 14-year old Julien – but is it romance, or a desperate attempt to turn back time in the face of middle age? A real family affair, Birkin’s daughters, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, her child with well-known filmmaker Jacques Doillon, also appear in the film.
Long unavailable in the US, the film has been newly-restored from the original 35mm camera negative. The film is a perfect time capsule from 80’s French cinema. Addressing the AIDS crisis through nonchalance and jokes, capturing the effortless sensuality of Birkin, and highlighting the differences in the use of sexuality on screen in Europe Vs America. The performances are, as expected, top notch. The use of Birkin’s children is brilliant. The natural banter, even when the scenario might seem unnatural given the relation, is captivating. As a first time viewer of these pieces, I was glad to have watched KUNG-FU MASTER! first. The two should most definitely been seen back to back. Both titles are currently streaming on Amazon and will be available on Blu-Ray and iTunes March 8 (additional VOD platforms to be announced)
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE: