Daguerréotypes

Directed by Agnès Varda
1976
Germany, France
87 minutes
Unclassified 15+
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This early documentary is an enchanting essay about Agnès Varda’s home street in Paris and its community, paying homage to what Varda refers to as “the silent majority”.

Rue Daguerre, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, served as office, editing suite and home for Agnès Varda from 1951. People and place form the bedrock of Varda's filmmaking, and both are beautifully exemplified in this cinéma vérité documentary: an investigation of community and body politics that reveals the dreams and illusions of the residents of this humble French high street.

Daguerréotypes opens with Mystag the magician, who acts as narrator, alongside Varda, for an illuminating stroll on the Rue Daguerre (a street named after one of the pioneers of photography, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre).

In her observations of the baker, grocer, butcher, perfumer and laundress, Varda is unobtrusive but inquisitive, gleaning information about the shopkeepers' histories and hopes. “I sought to capture the people’s way of life,” Varda said. “In this simplicity I touch on another aspect of feminism: filming in a simple way the simplicity of daily life.”

Varda’s own 'immobility' (like that of her shopkeepers) is key to the larger filmic and political structure of the film. Tethered to home with a new baby and having promised her neighbours she would only use her own electricity supply, Varda created an ‘electrical umbilical cord’, confining herself to filming within 90 meters of her own doorstep.

This simple premise begs deeper thought about the social politics of labour and gender. A complex puzzle is presented as an enchanting vision of the beauty and universality of daily life.

See all 10 titles in this year's Varda retrospective with a Viva Varda package.
Join Viva Varda Curator, Kristy Matheson for An Audience Guide to Varda
Also screening at the festival is Varda’s last work Varda by Agnès

'Daguerréotypes' has aged splendidly, acquiring flavors that would've been inconceivable at the time it was made.
The A.V. Club
Observing traditional crafts and trades with loving fascination, Varda empathetically evokes their paradoxes – the depth of practical knowledge, the lack of variety in experience.
Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Films showing at this event:

Réponse de Femmes
In 1975 Agnès Varda assembled a group and asked, “what it means to be a woman”. This is their reply.

Tickets

Sat 15 June
10:15am
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Past Event Cancel
Presented by
Program Strand
Viva Varda, French Films
Year
1976
Classification
Unclassified 15+
Country
Germany, France
Language
In French with English subtitles
Director
Agnès Varda
Producer
Agnès Varda
Screenwriter
Agnès Varda
Cinematographer
Nurith Aviv, William Lubtchansky
Editor
Gordon Swire
Genre
Documentary, Women Directors, Cinephile
Company Credits
World Sales: MK2 Films
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