Viva Varda! The Films of Agnès Varda
- Lions Love (... and Lies)
- Agnès Varda
- 112 DCP
- January 16, 2020 8:10
- January 27, 2020 8:10
The third film and first feature in Agnès Varda’s California anthology is a radical docu-fiction portrait of American counterculture, and a metatextual record of its own making. The free-form work, one of Varda’s most provocative, centres on a trio of polyamorous hippies — Viva, of Warhol Factory fame, and James Rado and Gerome Ragni, creators of the flower-power rock musical Hair — sojourning in a luxury mansion in L.A.’s Hollywood Hills. Into the ménage à trois rolls real-life NY filmmaker Shirley Clarke (playing at once herself and a Varda stand-in), summoned there to make a movie — that is, until Varda steps into the frame to replace her. A meditation on celebrity, the death of the Swinging Sixties, and the dubious line between fact and fakery in cinema, Lions Love is “Varda’s ultimate California film” (Michael Koresky, Criterion Collection).
French master Agnès Varda produced some of her most adventurous and socially engaged works while living abroad in America. Relocating to sunbathed California in 1967 with husband Jacques Demy (who was contracted by Columbia Pictures to direct Model Shop, his English-language debut), Varda created a suite of spritely, self-reflexive films that effortlessly slip between documentary and drama, the personal and the political. Ten years later, she returned to the Golden State with son Mathieu and made two more films, with similarly wondrous results.