This whimsical and warm-hearted documentary tracks an inspired partnership, road trip and friendship between street artist JR and French New Wave cinema director Agnès Varda. #MIFF2017
Varda is in her 80s and is a grande dame of cinema. With two-tone hair and a mischievous humour, she isn’t someone to let age slow her down or make her conform. JR, with his signature hat and shades to mask his identity, creates mammoth art projects across the world, pasting giant portraits of local people on buildings and industrial structures.
Both are driven by a social conscience and a genuine interest in people. Together they use JR’s cute camera-shaped photo booth and mural printing truck to create instant place-based, in-the-moment street art exhibitions. They trip and dance across France, meeting people and creating art out of the social and historical moments they encounter.
The people they document are fascinating; from the wives of dock workers to the last woman left in a row of miners’ houses awaiting demolition. What shines are the small moments of connection and emotion as these people see themselves as giants, revealed to their communities.
The creation of the art is fascinating and I wonder if JR could look at any surface without imagining an artwork. He is a goofy, kind-hearted clown, a perfect pairing with Varda’s perennial wonderment at the world.
The pacing is artfully done, with the right amounts of absurdity, realism and pathos. It left me with a desire to create art and to act inappropriately.
Have you seen this film? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.