Agnes Varda, Uncle Yanco (still), 1967


Agnès Varda in California: Documenteur / Black Panthers / Uncle Yanco

Part of Modern Cinema: Criterion Collection and Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Modern Cinema’s Founding Supporters are Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein.

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The legendary French filmmaker Agnès Varda, whose remarkable career began in the 1950s and has continued into the 21st century, produced some of her most provocative works in the United States. After temporarily relocating to California in the late 1960s with her husband, Jacques Demy, Varda, inspired by the politics, youth culture, and sunshine of San Francisco and Los Angeles, created three works that use documentary and fiction in various ways. Together, they demonstrate that Varda was as deft an artist in unfamiliar terrain as she was on her own turf.

This screening includes a special introduction by producer Tom Luddy.

“Uncle Yanco is the cinematic equivalent of a breeze blowing through gossamer curtains… With its fragmented opening visuals and sounds, bursts of psychedelic color, and images of the San Francisco area, it’s as much an experimental evocation of a place and time as a portrait of a person.” —Michael Koresky,

“Though one could see the white and newly-arrived-in-America Varda as a detached observer, there’s a universality and an empathy to her film that keep it from exoticizing its subjects. As she revealed in a 1977 interview, she considers Black Panthers to be a crucial moment for her political thinking, one that revealed for her parallels between the black power and feminist movements…” —Michael Koresky,

“As Documenteur’s punning title suggests (in French, menteur means “liar”), a filmmaker is never entirely telling the truth, even in a documentary. Truth may be elusive, even impossible, but Varda has nevertheless always sought it as an artist, and her California films are evidence of how far afield that search can take one.” —Michael Koresky,

Film Details

Uncle Yanco
Language: English
Year: 1967
Running time: 19 min
Director: Agnès Varda

Black Panthers

Language: English
Year: 1968
Running time: 28 min
Director: Agnès Varda

Language: French, English subtitles
Year: 1981
Running time: 65 min
Director: Agnès Varda

Films and schedules may be subject to change.