shona ✨’s review published on Letterboxd:
Agnès Varda offers a tour of Los Angeles in Mur Murs, but through the eyes of artists, with murals as the monuments, exploring the significance of art and expression on communities and larger society.
The murals on show offer snapshots, glimpses, into the lives of the people in Los Angeles, or as the title’s clever pun tells us, whispers, murmurs, of life and sentimentality. Varda focuses on the artists; with each mural we are shown, a voice over tells us the name of the artist. She talks to different artists, understands the significance of their work to them and to their communities, with a particular focus on the Latino and the black communities of LA.
Art is power. Art is healing. Art is magic. Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? Or is it rather a recurring cycle. The murals of Los Angeles add colour and vibrancy to the city, but they also provide an outlet for the expression for pain, with art in remembrance of fallen members of the community, with tributes to the darker aspects of life. The paintings are beautiful still, despite dark subject matter. They breathe life into the city, even when their subject is that of death.
Varda presents a profound portrait of art. She is a director, a photographer, a composer of images; she is, herself, an artist. Her camera appreciates the murals at the centre, capturing the art in all of its glory; amongst the people, in the streets, the city moving around them. It is captivating, beautiful and inspirational, the desire to create after the film ends is undeniable.