It’s kind-of extraordinary that Agnès Varda isn’t as widely-known as her contemporaries Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut. After all, her groundbreaking La Point Courte pre-dates the acknowledged beginning of the French New Wave movement (Claude Chabrol’s Le Beau Serge) by three years, Truffaut’s The 400 Blows by four, and Godard’s Breathless by five. And if you’ve seen her follow-up, the achingly beautiful Cléo from 5 to 7, you’ll wonder why she isn’t one of the first names mentioned when we talk about 20th century cinema. She is an incredible director, and it’s amazing that at age 87 she’s still working, making documentaries, short films and TV series.
When The Age film critic and this month’s guest Philippa Hawker chose Varda, we were pretty excited to seek out all the little-known works and obscure gems from her career. And what a treasure trove it is.
We love cinema in all its various forms, and we don’t think we’ve had an episode of the show that is as diverse as this one. Before we explore the works of Left Bank Cinema’s beloved Agnès, we take a look at the current wave of superhero films. Love it or hate it, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has enjoyed huge cultural, financial and critical successes, but the most surprising element has been the scope of the influence it’s had on the rest of Hollywood.
Not content with franchises that have simple sequential entries, studios are actively pursuing shared universes, with everything from Star Wars to Ghostbusters to Knights of the Round Table aiming for multiple orbiting teams that have concurrent adventures in the same worlds. How big has this impact been, and what can we expect from it in the future? Listen as we speculate wildly.
We also look at three of the key films from the past month: stripper sequel Magic Mike XXL, Gilliam Armstrong’s revealing documentary Women He’s Undressed, and, appropriately, Marvel’s Ant-Man.
If you want to brush up on the films of Agnès Varda first, check out our Cheat Sheet here, before streaming the episode directly from this page, downloading the mp3, listening via Stitcher Smart Radio, or subscribing via iTunes. Basically, our aim is to provide more avenues for you to listen to this show than you could reasonably need.
Outro music: score from Cléo de 5 a 7 (1962), composed by Michel Legrand