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also known as Jane B. for Agnes V.

Jane B. par Agnes V.1987

  • 3.9
"I'll look at you, but not at the camera. It could be a trap," whispers Jane Birkin shyly into Agnès Varda's ear at the start of JANE B. PAR AGNES V. The director of CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 and VAGABOND once again paints a portrait of a woman, this time in a marvelously Expressionistic way. "It's like an imaginary bio-pic," says Varda. Jane, of course, is the famed singer, actress, fashion icon and longtime muse to Serge Gainsbourg. As Varda implies, JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. abandons the traditional bio-pic format, favoring instead a freewheeling mix of gorgeous and unexpected fantasy sequences. Here, Varda's signature mix of aesthetic innovation and generosity of emotion results in a surreal and captivating essay on art, fame, love, children and staircases. For its first-ever U.S. theatrical release the film has been newly-restored from the original 35mm camera negative, overseen by director Varda herself.

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Member Reviews (7)

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top reviewer

This film functions as a sort of almost imagined portrait of artist, Jane Birkin. Interestingly, one never knows if it is Agnes Varda "painting" the portrait or Jane Birkin herself. Perhaps it is a bit of both.

From a pop cultural standpoint this film offers a few great moments. Watching Serge Gainsbourg coach Birkin through a musical number is fun. And there are a few moments between Varda's camera and Birkin that feel real.

Ultimately this movie is a mixed bag of ideas and whimsy. Some work better than others and a few fail to work at all. This film would fuel the inspiration for "Kung-fu Master" -- we even get to see a bit of the discussion and planning. That film works really well. This one seems more than a little clunky and runs about 30 minutes longer than it should.

Fans of Varda or Birkin will love it. For the rest of us, it might be a bit more than interest will bear out.

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top reviewer

This patchwork quilt of a film has no direction, and wasn't intended to have any. It does have a focus- many different portraits of Jane Birkin and it will delight her fans, and of course fans of Agnes Varda, the first of the French New Wave film makers, and one of the most innovative documentarians ever.

Too brilliant, so very... Varda. And Jane is the sweetest as usual.

YAS QUEENS!

god bless agnes varda

Just saw it at Lincoln Center with the added attraction of Jane Birken herself for an after film Q&A. I love Varda's way of weaving story from many different parts - almost as fragmented as a Cubist portrait, but always grounded in a humanity that breaks thro much of today's cinema of cold gloss. Birkin is a game actress, and very beautiful in her own odd way.