Agnes Varda's "The Gleaners and I"

Netflix made headlines in Cannes Acquired Todd Haynes’ “May December” for $11 million, but money is also spent on film history. The streamer is one of several entities entering the network Agnes Varda Deal this year by investing in a new project to revitalize interest in the late French new wave filmmaker’s work.

Varda’s daughter, producer Rosalie Varda, announced in Cannes this week that she has secured funding for Education in Images: “The Gleaners and I”, an ambitious heritage project for film students consisting of restored daily newspapers from Varda’s groundbreaking 1999 documentary. The digital platform will be made available to film schools around the world and is based on 60 hours of footage from Varda’s 2000 poetic documentary The Gleaners and I, which explores the unique lives and challenges of gleaners across French society. Students can use the platform to create their own versions of The Gleaners and I and upload them to the platform.

i think you should go

“My mission is to pass on her legacy,” said Rosalie, daughter of Agnes and fellow director Jacques Demy, in an interview in Cannes. “But it’s not just about the Agnes and Jacques films. It’s about the legacy of cinema and how to get the younger generation curious about it.”

In addition to Netflix, the project received financial support from numerous other investors: the French National Audiovisual Institute (INA), Chanel, the Cinémathèque française, the Lumiere Institute, the Margaret Herrick Library, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the Criterion Collection, Janus Films, Ola Storm and mk2 Films. Varda is also developing a separate archival project entitled Memories of Images, which focuses on the restoration of Varda’s footage beyond her completed feature films. This endeavor, which is expected to start next year, will create an online database for Varda’s film materials beyond her feature films.

“It’s been a long journey,” Rosalie said. “I realized how much Agnes is loved.” Rosalie, who runs her mother’s old production company Ciné-Tamaris with her brother Mathieu Demy, has spent the last few years cobblering together resources for the two projects. “I think finding ways to engage students is really important,” Rosalie said. “You can’t tell them to just go see these movies at the cinematheque. This will be a real program for teachers to make accessible to their students and to work with.”

The platform will be launched at the Paris film school La Fémis in September. Further plans are in progress to use them at American universities. The INA used artificial intelligence to catalog the images during the onslaught to compile its own footage. For example, students can search for the word “cat” and retrieve all footage with cats in it, or include unused interviews to change the original context of the film. “The topic of ‘gleaners’ is still very relevant,” Rosalie said. “It’s about homelessness, recycling and all that. It’s a perfect topic for college students to explore.”

Agnes Varda (R) and French producer Rosalie Varda (L) attend the press conference of 'Varda by Agnes' (Varda par Agnes) during the 69th annual Berlin Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, February 13, 2019.  The Film That Plays will premiere out of competition at the Berlinale February 7-17.Varda von Agnes Press Conference, 69th Berlin Film Festival, Germany – February 13, 2019
Agnes Varda (R) and French producer Rosalie Varda (L) attend the ‘Varda By Agnes’ press conference during the 69th Berlin Film FestivalADAM BERRY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

After the death of her mother in 2019, Rosalie discovered countless boxes with film fragments that had never been fully explored in the basement of Agnes’ Paris home. However, she did not immediately consider the need for restoration of Varda’s digital work, which began with the production of The Gleamers and I in 1999 and continued until her death. Instead, Rosalie had been looking for a way to expand Varda’s commitment to younger generations, as she does in the film school lectures at the heart of Varda By Agnes. This documentary, completed when Varda was 90, followed her around the world as she taught filmmaking master classes to younger generations.

Rosalie attended the 2019 Telluride Film Festival with the film, six months after her mother’s death. She was joined there by longtime Agnes Varda fan Martin Scorsese, who moderated a conversation about the filmmaker with Rosalie and Demy at the festival. During the conversation, Rosalie recalled, a butterfly made its way across the room from outside. “I said to Martin, ‘That’s Agnes, I know that,'” Rosalie said.

At the time, Scorsese was gearing up for the fall release of Netflix production The Irishman, and Rosalie was having dinner with filmmaker and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos that night.

“Scorsese asked, ‘What are you doing with the digital pictures that Agnes took with her digital cameras?'” Rosalie said. “I thought, ‘I don’t know!’ We had restored all of their films and some were restored by the Filmstiftung. Other of France. But I never thought about the newspapers, about the rest of the pictures. I thought my job was done. Over dinner, Martin said to Ted, ‘You need to talk to Rosalie.’” The two met later that fall at the Lumiere Festival in Lyon and again in Los Angeles. “I was very emotional when Ted Sarandos showed that he was so interested in passing on my mother’s work,” Rosalie said.

Netflix declined to reveal the full extent of its investment, but Varda said the total project was budgeted at €1.5 million. “Agnes Varda was a true pioneer of cinema,” Sarandos said in a statement to IndieWire. “Her amazing work inspired the filmmakers who created French New Wave and in turn influenced generations of artists around the world. She was a creative bridge between cultures, generations and cinematic movements. She leaves behind a remarkable body of work that will serve as the basis for this exciting program for students that will keep her timeless legacy alive.”

The funding period for the “Gleaners” project is five years. Afterwards, Rosalie said she might try to bring more films from her mother’s archives into the platform. In the meantime, she is still working on archiving Agnes’ footage, many of which she discovered in her mother’s basement after her death. “We found boxes of film prints that we didn’t even know she had,” she said, listing footage such as her mother’s footage with Pier Paolo Pasolini in New York in the 1960s. “She was always filming outside of her projects. She was like Jonas Mekas or Andy Warhol and was always photographing small things. I didn’t even think about what it would mean to do this project.”

After the death of her mother, Rosalie became an influential figure on the world film scene. She joined distribution company mk2 as a consultant for the 800 or so films in the classic film library, became an academic and recently joined the Cannes board. Last year, she helped the Academy Museum open its popular exhibition about her mother’s work. In Cannes, Rosalie will also be present to support the Cannes Classics documentary “Viva Varda!” about her mother and “Room 999”, a documentary featuring interviews with contemporary directors about the future of cinema.

“Suddenly I realized I was working a lot,” she said. “People are very receptive to the fact that my projects can change the way we see archives.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *