"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Mar 052018

She is a revered octogenarian filmmaker, he is a brash young star in the art world, but these seemingly dissimilar artists come together to create something wholly beautiful in the magnificent and universally acclaimed new film FACES PLACES. The 2018 Best Documentary Feature Oscar nominee, which “restores your faith” in “film culture and human nature” (Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post), arrives on Cohen Media Group Blu-ray and DVD, as well as digital platforms, on March 6, 2018.

Agnès Varda, one of the leading figures of the French New Wave who at 89 is still expanding cinematic frontiers, and the acclaimed 34-year-old French photographer and muralist known as JR team up to co-direct an enchanting documentary/road movie. Kindred spirits, Varda and JR share a lifelong passion for images and how they are created, displayed and shared. In FACES PLACES, they travel in JR’s photo truck to French villages, factories, docks, farms and anywhere else their spirits take them, meeting locals, learning their stories and producing epic-size portraits of them. The photos are then prominently displayed on houses, barns, storefronts and trains, revealing the humanity in their subjects as well as in Varda and JR themselves. FACES PLACES documents these heart-warming encounters, as well as the unlikely, tender friendship formed along the way by the two artists.

The film, produced by Rosalie Varda, the director’s daughter, and CMG Chairman and CEO Charles S. Cohen, won the Most Popular International Documentary award at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival. It was just nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

FACES PLACES has garnered universal praise – and a remarkable “100% Fresh” rating at the film review site Rotten Tomatoes. Ty Burr of The Boston Globe cheered, “Anyone who can’t enjoy this wise and soulful film has to consider whether they’ve given up on the movies, and on life.” Adam Graham of The Detroit News concurred, calling it “a lively, fun, stirring tribute to art and its ability to touch people and bring souls together.” “FACES PLACES is truly a joyous documentary, and qualifies as a must-see for any lover of cinema,” said Christopher Schobert of The Buffalo News. Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post called it “a film of sheer joy, its exuberance surpassed only by its tenderness and purity of purpose.”

The Belgian-born French director Agnès Varda began her legendary career with the 1955 marital exploration La Pointe Courte, a forerunner to the New Wave, but secured her place as a major artist with her second film, 1962’s Cleo From 5 to 7, a profound and formally daring drama about a young singer waiting to find out if she has cancer. Varda has remained a prolific creator of urgent yet contemplative features, shorts and documentaries/cinematic essays, including such revered titles as Le Bonheur, Far From Vietnam, Vagabond, Jane B. by Agnès V., The Gleaners and I and, most recently, The Beaches of Agnès.

Over the past decade, the photographer and activist JR has established a unique position in the art world as a self-described “photograffeur” – a graffiti artist of sorts who posts his large photographic images in incongruous public spaces in an attempt to challenge conventional perceptions of advertising, the media and art itself. Praised as “the Cartier-Bresson of the 21st century” by Fabrice Bousteau of Beaux Arts magazine, JR was featured prominently in the recently aired Grammy Awards – he created the backdrop of giant eyes as U2 performed on a barge in New York Harbor near the Statue of Liberty.

Cohen Media Group’s FACES PLACES Blu-ray and DVD both contain a wealth of supplementary material, including “Chance Is the Best Assistant: Agnès Varda and JR on Faces Places,” a 46-minute interview with the filmmakers, and the original theatrical trailer.
 Posted by on March 5, 2018  Add comments

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