In 1994, with a retro at the French Cinémathèque, I published a book entitled VARDA BY AGNÈS. 25 years later, the same title is given to my film made of moving images and words, with the same project: give keys about my body of work. I give my own keys, my thoughts, nothing pretentious, just keys.
The film is in two parts, two centuries.
The 20th century from my first feature film LA POINTE COURTE in 1954 to the last one in 1996, ONE HUNDRED AND ONE NIGHTS. In between, I made documentaries, features, short and long.
The second part starts in the 21st century, when the small digital cameras changed my approach to documentaries, from the GLEANERS AND I in 2000 to FACES PLACES, co-directed with JR in 2017. But during that time, I mostly created art installations, atypical triptychs, shacks of cinema and I kept making documentaries, such as THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS.
In the middle of the two parts, there is a little reminder about my first life as a photographer.
I’ve made a wide variety of films in my life. So I need to tell you what led me to do this work for so many years.
Three words are important to me: Inspiration, creation, sharing.
INSPIRATION is why you make a film. The motivations, ideas, circumstances and happenstance that spark a desire and you set to work to make a film.
CREATION is how you make the film. What means do you use? What structure? Alone or not alone? In colour or not in colour? Creation is a job.
The third word is SHARING. You don’t make films to watch them alone, you make films to show them. An empty cinema: a filmmaker’s nightmare!
People are at the heart of my work. Real people. That’s how I’ve always referred to the people I film in cities or the countryside.
When you film something, a place, a landscape, a group of people, even if the subject is specific, what you shot indicates your deepest project.
I like to bring together reality and its representation. But I also like to juxtapose moving images and still images, in video and in photography.
“Palestinian director Elia Suleiman continues to relish the minutiae and absurdities of daily life via vignettes of life at home and abroad.”
-Jay Weissberg: Variety
“Another love letter to Palestine from a modern Chaplin.”
– Deborah Yound: The Hollywood Reporter
“The absurdities and visual gags from It Must Be Heaven are the best ones in Suleimann’s path, which make this his better and must funny movie that makes a difference.”
– Kaleem Aftab: Cineropa
“A burlesque tale in which identity, nationality, and belonging are explored. Suleimann poses the question ‘Where can one feel at home?”
“The talented rumanian filmmaker surprises (and convinces us) with his thriller noir which stands out from his previous filmography and from almost all of the cinema coming from his country.”
– Diego Lerer: Micropsiacine
“The pleasing perspective from Corneliu Porumboiu about grand theft movies has its own charm.”
– Eric Kohn: IndieWire
“Art house movie that stands out from many others within its genre.”
– Leslie Felperin: The Hollywood Reporter
“The whole film is gorgeous to look at, at any rate, with Jacqueline Abrahams’ production design poised between realistic sets littered with amusing vintage objects and unnaturally spare hospital wards. A dreamy feeling emanates from DP Lorenzo Hagerman’s muted browns and greens and soft focus. All the clues are there that Alverson and his co-screenwriters Colm O’Leary and Dustin Guy Defa are after bigger game than spoofing 1950s America.”
– Deborah Young : Hollywood Reporter
“Rick Alverson’s beautiful, often inscrutable new film takes a stand for eccentricity in a complacent suburban nightmare.”
– Guy Lodge: Variety
“Alverson leave very little room for serenity, bare compassion and affection gestures whose intensity and nakedness remind us of the great masters of trascendental cinema: Robert Bresson or Carl Dreyer. Fleeting halo lights amidst the heart of tragedy: the most devastating movie this critic has seen in a very long time.”
– Manu Yañez : Fotogramas
“A proposal as magnetic as it is immersive and captivating (…) this laberynth is just perfect.”
– Luis Martínez : El Mundo
“It is a movie about gay experience, it is not about migration, but about displacement, about forgetfulness, memory and reconstruction, global and deeply human topics. The characters in the movie end up meeting in the middle at some point but in reality, it is a history with no end.”
—The director for Encuadres
“Exile, identity and sexuality, a triage of elements that are mixed in the character of Ramin, an iranian migrant who lands in Veracruz harbor, a place of transference/transit/transport for a character that is not only running away from his demons, but also from the problematic reality of being gay in the middle east; the search for the embrace of an identity that welcoms his true self.”
—José Emilio Sarmiento: Panorama
“The topic of marginalization born out of facism and violent contexts, in which, one way of another, the “fireflies” (from Pasolini’s essay) manage to comunicate insided the shadows where they were exiled to.”
— Matt Micucci: Gay Essential
“Shot with grace and sensitivity in black and white using available and natural light, What You Gonna Do is a visual treat, the easiest on the eye of all the director’s films to date. It is also, for all its unevenness, a stirring, committed portrait of black lives at a crossroads in the American South.”
—Lee Marshal: Screen Daily
“A passionate sketch dedicated to the black lives based on the south highways in Northamerica.”
“One of the most misterious and vast movies of the year.”
—Alonso Díaz de la Vega: El Universal
“Lee Chang-dong’s Adaptation of Haruki Murakami Story Is a Mesmerizing Tale of Working Class Frustrations (. . .) a beautiful and captivating poetic work.”
—Eric Kohn: IndieWire
“Film that agian shows the talent of a rigorous director and with an expresive forze out of this world.”
—Luciano Monteagudo: Página 12
“Lee has crafted a hypnotic and haunting film that transcends genre to dig deep into the human condition.”
—Peter Travers: Rolling Stone
“A work of sharpness and intenstiy rarely seen.”
—Luis Martínez: El Mundo
“Alfonso Cuarón’s neorealist drama about a family in early-’70s Mexico City is a luminous vision that insists on floating above its characters.”
— Owen Gleiberman : Variety.
“The wonderful and revealing, Cuarón’s opus is familiar even to those who were born in the other side of the border.”
— Claudia Puig: Remezcla
“The sumptuous film, based on Cuarón’s own childhood, reverberates not only with innocence but with the awful intuition of its collapse.”
— Anthony Lane: The NewYorker
“Roma’ assembles its narrative out of small moments, as the director’s camera pans slowly through various scenes to soak in the distinctive locale, while dispensing tidbits of story details from unlikely places.”
— Eric Kohn: Indiewire
“A surprisingly real and visually amazing story (…) Perhaps the harsh stories about drugs are nothing new, but this one sure has something deep to share.”
– Owen Gleiberman: Variety
“The war takes on a mithological tone to narrate what it is, essentially, a story about latinamerican gangsters (…) the makers assume a sober tone that evades the narco movies’ violent excesses.”
– Leonardo García Tsao: La Jornada
“The result is potent, articulate, splattered by extraordinary sequences, and it is build wiht a maginific sense of rythm.”
– Sergio Huibobro: Cine Premier
“Superbly crafted (…) it intelligently explores how longstanding traditions can be gradually upended by drugs, money and outside influences.
– Jordan Mintzer: The Hollywood Reporter
“Is an engrossing narco-thriller which deftly balances the storytelling tradition of the Wayuu with the genre conventions of the crime movie and the western.”
– Wendy Ide: Screendaily
“The film subtly shifts from a quietly comical character study to a delicate reflection on loneliness and mortality.”
– Jeannette Catsoulis: The New York Times
“Harry Dean Stanton Gives a Performance for the Ages (…) a wonderful performance, artfully rearranged from the remnants of a lifetime of wonderful performances.”
– David Ehrlich: Indiewire