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LGM Film Club 278: Daguerreotypes

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Agnès Varda is one of my all time directors, someone who mastered the film essay, as well as the feature film and someone who pushed back so hard against the sexism of her overrated French New Wave colleagues. In 1976, she released Daguerreotypes, an odd little movie that both reflected her life at that moment and her sensibilities. At that moment, she was living on Rue Daguerre in the 14th while dealing with a teenage daughter (who appears in the film) and a toddler son that got in the way of her traveling to film a normal movie. So, in the aftermath of Paris in 68 and the political radicalism around it that she was deeply involved with, she made this little film about the shop owners in her neighborhood. Since it is Paris, of course there is an accordion shop. I laughed. In any case, this may not be one of Varda’s greatest films, but it is certainly worthy. It provides dignity to these everyday people telling their stories about how they got to Paris and what their life is like. It reminded viewers of the time that the everyday person in France was a lot less interested in their politics than the university students and radicals of their overheated world. And there’s a real beauty to all of it.

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