A portrait of actress Jane Birkin.
A portrait of actress Jane Birkin.
Throw me in movie jail! This is my first Agnes Varda movie.
I like her keen eye for framing, though, particularly the slow dolly shots from left to right, use of color (the red, white, and blacks in that Spanish dancer scene!), and incorporation of reflections and animals in weird glass cages. My favorite scene featured Birkin dancing in front of a wall of segmented mirrors while figures in solid colored unitards flitted in and out of her reflection as the camera pivoted to reveal new dancers and even a film crew. The capper? The camera pushes in on Birkin until the other mirrors leave the frame and her multiple reflections unify into one. SO GOOD!
The movie dragged a…
Patience, courage, and the strength to meet your own gaze in the mirror.
Witness the birth of an altogether other film as this unfolds before your eyes.
More daydream elision than documentary portrait. A quite curious blend of fantasy and non-fiction, bridged in equal measure by sound, dialogue, and ideas. Faults, scars, and fraying edges wholly define its considerable beauty. Less girl than boy, but not quite a boy either; an androgyne prince. Not quite the cumulative wallop of LIONS LOVE, but yet more proof of AV's mastery of the audio and visual. Lots to love here, as doors open / close on new worlds.
Agnès Varda likes daydreams, not psychology. Her movies jump not from one thing to the next but from one thing to a next, always opening, never closing. One film, a documentary made of fictional parts (Jane B. par Agnès V.), leads to another, a fiction made of documentary (Kung-fu Master!), starring Jane Birkin's daughters, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, and Varda's son, Mathieu Demy.
Birkin said she wanted “to make a feature film about how I really am: jeans, old sweaters, messy hair, barefoot in my garden. Just once, I'd like to forget wigs and pretty costumes. I’d like to be filmed as if I were transparent, anonymous, like everyone else.” So Agnès Varda made that movie. Where there's creativity without agony, there's people living in front of a camera.
Agnès Varda turns a film on life into a life on film.
"Birkin calls for more authenticity, and Varda responds with more artifice. But what the director most allows is her actress to speak. Even when slow-dancing alongside a 20-sided hall of mirrors, Birkin slowly confesses to her dreams as Varda pushes the camera in, forming a single image. It’s a crucial moment in a film in which every bit of the documentary feels supremely crafted, but it’s all for showing the authentic romance at its center as two artists collaborate in harmony through their pushing and pulling."
Jane Birkin is a person I admire not only as an artist but as a human being. I shared my love of this film by Agnès Varda with those who also respect Jane Birkin on this level. I had the honor of meeting Jane seven years ago, and have a beautiful conversation with her and she is everything and more than this film portrays. Of course, some of the sequences are rather odd, but I really enjoyed seeing some of her photos from her past and a little more insight on the person she is along with some great scenes of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon.
Couldn't help but think of Robbe-Grillet's Trans-Europ-Express as Varda and Birkin create fictions and diversions in real-time, using documentary as the thread in a dream labyrinth of living portraits, studio sessions, and cinema history. As much as I liked this, I think I liked Kung-Fu Master! more -- the rigid structure and gloomy mood of that spinoff serving more as a showcase for Jane B. as this is for Varda.
I’m not smart enough for this, but I liked it!
ahhhhhHHHHHH this is a real filmé
Best birthday gift ever!
My first experience of Varda as a documentarian.
It’s a very interesting film. One of the many interesting things about it is that it’s frank with its shortcomings. Towards the final 20 minutes Varda and Birkin muse on whether they can form a coherent narrative out of what they have assembled so far. Lost in a labyrinth. For the final third this film grapples as much with itself as the subject. I’m not sure it manages it as well as it could.
This is not a simple straightforward film about the life of Jane Birkin, there’s a reason Varda features in the title. Jane B is about a relationship between actor and director, artist and subject. It explores Birkin’s life…
Watching this film for the first time 30 years after it was made, I wonder if Todd Haynes had seen it before making his one about Bob Dylan (I'm Not There). There's a similar sort of playfulness in the way that it takes a person's life (Jane Birkin in this case) and reworks it, plays with what it means to be represented on film, to be a performer and inhabit roles, and how the (re)presentation changes the meaning of what we see. We see Birkin in a variety of costume dramas and staged tableaux of baroque paintings, or enacting genre scripts (a gangster heist drama, or a love story across generational boundaries with Varda's son Mathieu), as well as talking…
Jane Birkin plays herself alongside a variety of other characters in sketches that work as a sort of cineaste's variety show special (AKA I'm Not Cher).
Surreal and meandering. Dreamy sequences that would be cheesy by any other director, but Varda can do anything and still find a way to make it profound.
This was a very unique film. It's essentially a biography of Jane Birkin, exploring both her life and her desires, particularly in the world of acting. Through this, we are treated to a series of sequences in which Birkin acts out short scenarios, many of them being rather abstract. The film is beautifully shot, and some of the sequences are quite good, particularly the one with Jean-Pierre Leaud and the one where she pitches the idea for "Kung-Fu Master!" to Agnes Varda, even if that one did just make me long for that film, which was much better. The main problem with this film is that while Birkin is quite a personality, and has lived a very interesting life, she's…
All my friends’ friends.