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Daguerreotypes

Daguerreotypes

A Feature film by Agnès Varda

Release in France : 28/02/1978

    Synopsis

    This cinema-direct documentary from French New Wave pioneer Agnes Varda finds the legendary director touring the neighborhood that surrounds her home of over 50 years: the Rue Daguerre in Paris's 14th arrondissement. As she canvasses the shops and shopkeepers populating the area, an image emerges of a subculture and way of life that have since grown nearly extinct.

    Source : movies.nytimes.com

    Participant

    Production and distribution (3)

    Co-production :

    INA - Institut National de l'Audiovisuel

    French distribution :

    L'Epée de Bois

    Foreign production company :

    ZDF - Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen

    About

    Review

    The documentary was actually shot in 1976, and first released in 1978. It is having its long overdue US theatrical premiere in 2011, thanks to New York City's exceptional Maysles Cinema, where it has a one week run beginning on December 12, 2011.

    With her brilliant storytelling skill, Varda transforms the small details of daily life into larger than life drama. In Daguerreotypes, she employs her cinema verite fly on the wall shooting style to follow several Parisian shopkeepers -- the local perfume maker, butcher, baker and others -- as they go about their well established, well practiced daily routines. She records them as they open their shops, stock their shelves and serve their regular and new customers. And, as they carry out their various tasks before her camera, the shopkeepers seem to grow in stature. They become important personalities, the keepers of local culture and tradition.

    Varda's inimitably intimate camera work captures their twitches, their unexpected and nuanced glances and the subtle gestures that reveal their inner thoughts, and illustrate the unspoken tensions of their lives. Nothing of much conseqence happens, but with Varda's observational guidance, the quite ordinary behavior that through lesser eyes might be seen as plain tedium is quite mesmerizing. The shopkeepers are enchanting. They are not inhibited by self-consciousness. Watching them becomes an intense and enjoyable experience.

    Then, with her extraordinary vision and skill, Varda adds another dimension to our point of view. She follows the shopkeepers from the safe and familiar environs of their stores into the unknown world of a local magic show where they encounter the unexpected and fantastic. Intercutting the footage of the shopkeepers in their own environments with footage of them experiencing the mysteries of magic reveals even more about their inner lives and aspirations.

    They are the people of Paris. This is the street on which Agnes Varda lives. It is 1976. And you are in a mystical time capsule that captures a mixture of the mundane and magical elements of that very specific world for all eternity.

    Varda is a brilliant filmmaker, and Daguerreotypes is a magnificent documentary. If it is at all within the realm of possibility and your means, take advantage of this limited opportunity to see it on the big screen. If you can't make it to the Maysles Cinema screenings, by all means see Daguerreotypes on DVD on the largest screen you have available to you.

    Source : documentaries.about.com

    Full credits (8)

    Directors of Photography :

    Nurith Aviv, William Lubtchansky

    Sound Assistant :

    Bernard Chaumeil

    Editors :

    Andrée Choty, Gordon Swire

    Narration Writer :

    Agnès Varda

    Sound Recordist :

    Maurice Gilbert

    Assistant Operators :

    Christian Bachmann, Denis Gheerbrant, Michel Thiriet

    Sound editors :

    Jean-François Auger, Antoine Bonfanti

    Participant :

    Rosalie Varda

    Technical details

    Feature film

    Genres :

    Documentary

    Sub-genre :

    Portrait

    Themes :

    The neighborhood, Business and trade , City

    Production language :

    French

    Coproducer countries :

    France, Germany

    Original French-language productions :

    Unknown

    Nationality :

    Majority French (France, Germany)

    Production year :

    1975

    French release :

    28/02/1978

    Runtime :

    1 h 20 min

    Current status :

    Released

    Approval :

    Unknown

    Production formats :

    16mm

    Color type :

    Color

    Aspect ratio :

    1.37

    Audio format :

    Mono