Kung-Fu Master! ★★★★½


Just saw my first Agnès Varda film and it has left me thoroughly impressed.

What a delightful little film, easy to watch and worthy of remembrance. Varda deals with such an unconventional (probably even disturbing, for some) subject matter, which I won't spoil, but gives it such a warm and organic treatment that the emotions feel so right-at-home. Unlike her peers from the Nouvelle Vague, she seems to care a great deal about her characters and even the tiniest of thoughts and gestures, that someone like Godard might take for granted, find significance in the world she creates. And it is perhaps this humanistic nature that enables her to get such effortlessly natural performances out of her actors.

I wish I could be more articulate and pinpoint what exactly makes her direction style so captivating to watch but honestly, I can't. Not yet. Perhaps it is the cinematography, or the intimacy in her screenplay. Her colour grading in this film is exquisite and her close-ups so intimate and personal that you almost feel like you're watching your own family members in film. I kept getting the feeling that Varda was a woman who loved live and its little mysteries so much that it shows through the characters she creates. But she isn't a hopeless romantic either, and makes sure that her script touches upon the practical implications of the reality she portrays (and perhaps dreams of).

It stars Mathieu Demy, son of famous New Wave filmmaker Jacques Demy and Varda herself. This film will probably never get the acclaim or appreciation it deserves, because of its subject matter which can be so easily misconstrued. And yet it is the kind of film that will delight the open-minded, the ones who don't believe in putting labels and commodifying love, those who realize that societal norms are of little use when it comes to matters of the heart.

This isn't even amongst Varda's most acclaimed and celebrated films and I love it to bits. So very excited to discover more.