La Pointe Courte (1955) is Varda’s first feature-length film, and has been called the first film of the French New Wave, earning Varda her honorary title as its mother. Shot on a budget of $14,000, the film is named after its setting, La Pointe Courte, a community on the Mediterranean coast not far from Sète, where Varda was raised. It follows an affluent Parisian couple as they try to decide whether or not to get divorced during their visit to La Pointe Courte, the husband’s hometown. The film was hailed for its innovative camerawork and the strong aesthetic presence of its director, though Varda was then a novice to film. Like many of its New Wave peers, La Pointe Courte is not beholden to a single style: scenes that focus on the couple are noticeably stylized, while the atmospheric scenes around the fishing community are shot in almost a documentary style, echoing Italian neorealist films such as Bicycle Thieves (1948). These two styles interweave gracefully in Varda’s film, which, despite its rudimentary production, is luxurious in its details and unmistakable in its sense of place. The result is a beautifully sensitive and intelligent film.
Director: Agnès Varda
Running time: 86 minutes
Format: Digital Cinema Package
Source: Janus Films
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