Robert De Niro Called Out for Lack of Working With Female Directors — He’s Not Sure Why

The Oscar winner has been making movies for five decades, but almost entirely with male directors.

Robert De Niro has been working as a leading actor since Brian De Palma’s “Greetings” in 1968, but over his five decades in Hollywood De Niro has worked with few women directors (examples include Agnès Varda on the 1995 French comedy movie “One Hundred and One Nights,” and Nancy Meyers on “The Intern.”) Why the lack of films directed by women? It’s a question French actress-turned-director Maiwenn asked De Niro during a recent masterclass at the Marrakech Film Festival (via Variety).

“I don’t know,” De Niro answered when pressed by Maiwenn on the discrepancy. Some of De Niro’s best known collaborators are Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, David O. Russell, de Palma, and Sergio Leone.

De Niro added only one more thought on the matter, saying, “I don’t have a problem working with a woman. If it’s a good script I’d do it.”

De Niro has a trio of films set for release in 2019, all of which are directed by men: Tim Hill’s “The War With Grandpa,” Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” and Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” a comic book film starring Joaquin Phoenix as the infamous Batman villain. Per usual, De Niro had nothing but praise for Socrsese when asked about their history making films together.

“Marty will let you go as far as you need to go and worry about it later, and he’ll use it,” De Niro said. “Some directors don’t think that way. If you offer this kind of a left turn or out-of-the-box type of thing, they’ll just say let’s move on. Marty just has that capacity to let you do what you want to do.”

“The Irishman,” which reunites De Niro with Scorsese for another gangster drama, is backed by Netflix. When asked about the streaming giant’s controversial day-and-date release policy, De Niro answered, “I love the big screen and I think certain movies have to be shown on a big screen, especially our movie. In the beginning, we’re talking about big venues where it should play. What happens after that I don’t know. The contradiction is that the money we’re fortunate to get from Netflix has been very good, so hopefully they’ll be some kind of a compromise.”

Netflix has started giving select films a pre-streaming theatrical release (see “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and “Roma” this fall), a strategy many expect will be used for “The Irishman.” Head over to Variety for more highlights from De Niro’s Marrakech Film Festival masterclass.

Agnes Varda Receives Honorary Award at Marrakech Film Festival

After receiving an honorary Oscar in 2017 and an honorary Palme d’Or in 2015, iconic auteur Agnes Varda received a career tribute at the 17th Marrakech Film Festival during a star-studded ceremony on Sunday. Varda’s tribute was introduced b…

After receiving an honorary Oscar in 2017 and an honorary Palme d’Or in 2015, iconic auteur Agnes Varda received a career tribute at the 17th Marrakech Film Festival during a star-studded ceremony on Sunday. Varda’s tribute was introduced by Cannes Film Festival’s artistic director Thierry Fremaux and French actress Chiara Mastroianni. Martin Scorsese, who presented […]

Cannes So Far: The Spotlight Belongs to the Women

If you’re looking to sum up the 2018 Cannes Film Festival so far, you might want to turn to an instructive scene near the end of Eva Husson’s competition entry “Girls of the Sun.” In the scene, Mathilde, a war correspondent played by Emmanuelle Bercot, is speaking to Bahar, a female squad leader played by Golshifteh Farahani.

“Be warned,” Mathilde says of the story she’s going home to write about Bahar’s exploits on the battlefield. “You’re going to be a heroine.”

“We’re all heroines,” says Bahar.

Also Read: Cate Blanchett Calls for ‘Parity and Transparency’ in Red Carpet Protest of Gender Inequity in Cannes

Is this the “we’re all heroines” edition of the Cannes Film Festival? Well, consider this:

  • Husson’s film, one of three movies in the competition directed by women, got what was by most reports the festival’s loudest and longest standing ovation at the end of its gala premiere on Saturday evening.
  • That same premiere began with 82 women, ranging from 87-year-old legend Agnes Varda to jury president Cate Blanchett, walking halfway up the steps into the Grand Theatre Lumiere and then stopping, as a protest against the festival’s historic scarcity of women in competition.
  • For only the second time in history, the main competition jury is made up of more women than men.
  • The biggest bidding war and the biggest deal in the Cannes marketplace so far has been for “355,” a globetrotting female-spy thriller masterminded by Jessica Chastain and starring Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing.
  • The biggest news so far has been generated by Saturday’s red-carpet statement read by Blanchett and Agnes Varda, and by an event scheduled to take place on the beach on Monday, at which the French gender equality group 50/50 by 2020 is expected to ask for a gender-parity pledge from Cannes General Delegate Thierry Fremaux and the directors of the Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week sidebars.

The lack of women is often news at Cannes, but this year their absence and their presence is the biggest story of the first six days of the festival. The currents that hit Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations and led to Frances McDormand’s impassioned Oscar-night speech have definitely washed up onto the Croisette, and this year’s Cannes, the first in memory without Weinstein’s oversized presence, is at least slightly more inclusive than usual.

Also Read: Cannes’ Female Troubles: Women Directors Have Always Been Scarce

We won’t know for at least a year how effective this year’s campaign has been; Fremaux has repeatedly said that he’s in favor of affirmative-action-style provisions to increase the number of women behind the scenes at Cannes, but he’s steadfastly insisted that gender should never be a factor in programming decisions.

And we won’t know if this is the year that only the second woman ever takes home the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. On the heels of Saturday’s “Girls of the Sun” screenings, some observers went so far as to brand Husson the odds-on favorite to follow Jane Campion (“The Piano”) as the only women to win — but that’s certainly a premature statement with 12 of the 21 main-competition films yet to screen as of midday Sunday.

Still to come: Two more films from female directors, Alice Rohrwacher’s “Lazzaro Felice” and Nadine Labaki’s “Capharnaum,” plus new work from esteemed auteurs Hizokazu Kore-eda (“Shoplifters”), Lee Chang-dong (“Burning”), Matteo Garrone (“Dogman”) and the only past Palme winner in the group, Nuri Bilge Ceylan (“The Wild Pear Tree”).

Also Read: ‘Girls of the Sun’ Film Review: A Middle Eastern Feminist Hero Slays ISIS

Also in the wings are the two American directors in competition: Spike Lee with “BlacKkKlansman” and David Robert Mitchell with “Under the Silver Lake.”

That’s a lot left to see – and in addition, it’s entirely possible that “Girls of the Sun,” for all its effectiveness as a piece of cinema, might be too slick and even manipulative for the Cannes jury, however much they might want to honor a female director.

(I’d say it probably has a better chance of winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film than the Palme d’Or.)

So by the end of the festival, Cannes 2018 could belong to a different film – maybe a film from a different woman, more likely one from a male director.

Also Read: ‘Cold War’ Film Review: Romance in Postwar Europe Is Ravishing and Haunted

Of the competition films that have screened since the festival opened on Tuesday with Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” the one to receive the most acclaim is probably “Ida” director Pawel Pawlikowski’s austere love story “Cold War,” though Kirill Serebrennikov’s Russian punk(ish) musical “Leto,” Jafar Panahi’s modestly subversive “Three Faces,” Christophe Honore’s AIDS saga “Sorry Angel” and Jean-Luc Godard’s assaultive “The Image Book” all have strong partisans.

So far, though, the biggest discoveries of Cannes ’18 have been in the margins, with films like Lukas Dhont’s affecting transgender teen drama “Girl,” while the biggest buzz has been around transgressive treats like Gaspar Noe’s predictably extreme “Climax” and Ali Abbasi’s troll-sex romp “Borders.”

Still, none of those have had anywhere near enough heat to steal the spotlight from those 82 women standing on the steps of Grand Theatre Lumiere on Saturday. For now, that’s the story of the 71st Cannes Film Festival: All the heroines.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Cannes Report, Day 4: Sales Market Heats Up, ‘355’ Sparks Bidding War, Jean-Luc Godard Is Back

‘Girl’ Film Review: Transgender Teen Drama Is a True Cannes Discovery

Cannes Confirms ‘Don Quixote’ for Closing Night, Praises Court Win: ‘Cinema Has Regained Its Rights’

If you’re looking to sum up the 2018 Cannes Film Festival so far, you might want to turn to an instructive scene near the end of Eva Husson’s competition entry “Girls of the Sun.” In the scene, Mathilde, a war correspondent played by Emmanuelle Bercot, is speaking to Bahar, a female squad leader played by Golshifteh Farahani.

“Be warned,” Mathilde says of the story she’s going home to write about Bahar’s exploits on the battlefield. “You’re going to be a heroine.”

“We’re all heroines,” says Bahar.

Is this the “we’re all heroines” edition of the Cannes Film Festival? Well, consider this:

  • Husson’s film, one of three movies in the competition directed by women, got what was by most reports the festival’s loudest and longest standing ovation at the end of its gala premiere on Saturday evening.
  • That same premiere began with 82 women, ranging from 87-year-old legend Agnes Varda to jury president Cate Blanchett, walking halfway up the steps into the Grand Theatre Lumiere and then stopping, as a protest against the festival’s historic scarcity of women in competition.
  • For only the second time in history, the main competition jury is made up of more women than men.
  • The biggest bidding war and the biggest deal in the Cannes marketplace so far has been for “355,” a globetrotting female-spy thriller masterminded by Jessica Chastain and starring Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing.
  • The biggest news so far has been generated by Saturday’s red-carpet statement read by Blanchett and Agnes Varda, and by an event scheduled to take place on the beach on Monday, at which the French gender equality group 50/50 by 2020 is expected to ask for a gender-parity pledge from Cannes General Delegate Thierry Fremaux and the directors of the Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week sidebars.

The lack of women is often news at Cannes, but this year their absence and their presence is the biggest story of the first six days of the festival. The currents that hit Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations and led to Frances McDormand’s impassioned Oscar-night speech have definitely washed up onto the Croisette, and this year’s Cannes, the first in memory without Weinstein’s oversized presence, is at least slightly more inclusive than usual.

We won’t know for at least a year how effective this year’s campaign has been; Fremaux has repeatedly said that he’s in favor of affirmative-action-style provisions to increase the number of women behind the scenes at Cannes, but he’s steadfastly insisted that gender should never be a factor in programming decisions.

And we won’t know if this is the year that only the second woman ever takes home the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. On the heels of Saturday’s “Girls of the Sun” screenings, some observers went so far as to brand Husson the odds-on favorite to follow Jane Campion (“The Piano”) as the only women to win — but that’s certainly a premature statement with 12 of the 21 main-competition films yet to screen as of midday Sunday.

Still to come: Two more films from female directors, Alice Rohrwacher’s “Lazzaro Felice” and Nadine Labaki’s “Capharnaum,” plus new work from esteemed auteurs Hizokazu Kore-eda (“Shoplifters”), Lee Chang-dong (“Burning”), Matteo Garrone (“Dogman”) and the only past Palme winner in the group, Nuri Bilge Ceylan (“The Wild Pear Tree”).

Also in the wings are the two American directors in competition: Spike Lee with “BlacKkKlansman” and David Robert Mitchell with “Under the Silver Lake.”

That’s a lot left to see – and in addition, it’s entirely possible that “Girls of the Sun,” for all its effectiveness as a piece of cinema, might be too slick and even manipulative for the Cannes jury, however much they might want to honor a female director.

(I’d say it probably has a better chance of winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film than the Palme d’Or.)

So by the end of the festival, Cannes 2018 could belong to a different film – maybe a film from a different woman, more likely one from a male director.

Of the competition films that have screened since the festival opened on Tuesday with Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” the one to receive the most acclaim is probably “Ida” director Pawel Pawlikowski’s austere love story “Cold War,” though Kirill Serebrennikov’s Russian punk(ish) musical “Leto,” Jafar Panahi’s modestly subversive “Three Faces,” Christophe Honore’s AIDS saga “Sorry Angel” and Jean-Luc Godard’s assaultive “The Image Book” all have strong partisans.

So far, though, the biggest discoveries of Cannes ’18 have been in the margins, with films like Lukas Dhont’s affecting transgender teen drama “Girl,” while the biggest buzz has been around transgressive treats like Gaspar Noe’s predictably extreme “Climax” and Ali Abbasi’s troll-sex romp “Borders.”

Still, none of those have had anywhere near enough heat to steal the spotlight from those 82 women standing on the steps of Grand Theatre Lumiere on Saturday. For now, that’s the story of the 71st Cannes Film Festival: All the heroines.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Cannes Report, Day 4: Sales Market Heats Up, '355' Sparks Bidding War, Jean-Luc Godard Is Back

'Girl' Film Review: Transgender Teen Drama Is a True Cannes Discovery

Cannes Confirms 'Don Quixote' for Closing Night, Praises Court Win: 'Cinema Has Regained Its Rights'

Cannes 2018: 82 Women Protest for Equality on the Red Carpet; ‘Let’s Climb!’

Cannes jury president Cate Blanchett spoke out for “workplaces [that] are diverse and equitable” both in front of, behind the camera, and beyond.

On Saturday, 82 film industry women protested for equality at Cannes. “1,688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs,” said Cannes jury president Cate Blanchett on the red carpet of the Palais Saturday evening ahead of “Girls of the Sun,” directed by one of three women in the festival Competition, Eva Husson. “In the 71 years of this world-renowned film festival, there have been 12 female heads of the jury.”

She added that 71 male directors have won the Palme d’Or, with only two women, “The Piano” filmmaker Jane Campion (“who is with us in spirit”) and Agnes Varda, who stood beside Blanchett and read the same statement in French. “These facts are stark and undeniable.”

They were among a total of 82 women including Patty Jenkins, Marion Cotillard, and Alice Rohrwacher, and the other four women on the Cannes jury (Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart, Lea Seydoux, and Burundian singer Khadja Nin). “Eighty-two women are on the steps today,” said Blanchett, “82 is the number of Cannes films made by women since 1966.” (Only four women have won best director or best script, including Sofia Coppola.)

“Women are not a minority in the world,” stated Blanchett and Varda. “Yet the current state of the industry states otherwise. As women we face our own unique challenges, yet we stand together on these steps today as a symbol of determination and a commitment to progress, we are writers, producers, actors, cinematographers, talent agents, distributors, and sales agents. All of us are involved in the cinematic arts. We stand today in solidarity with women of all industries.

She continued, “We expect our organizations to actively provide parity and transparency and a safe environment in which to work. We expect our governments to make sure that the laws of equal pay for equal work are upheld. We demand that our workplaces are diverse and equitable, so they can best reflect the work in which we actually live, a world that allows all of us to in front and behind the camera, to thrive shoulder to shoulder with our male colleagues. And we acknowledge all of the women and men around the world who are standing for change. The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let’s climb!”

At which point, Blanchett and Varda led the 82 women up the Palais steps.

You can watch Blanchett’s speech below, thanks to Variety.

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Cannes: Cate Blanchett, Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart Among 82 To Protest Gender Inequality; Read Blanchett’s Speech

Cate Blanchett, Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins, Kristen Stewart, Marion Cotillard, Salma Hayek and Agnes Varda were among 82 women to take part in a gender equality protest on the red-carpet in Cannes this evening.
The actors, directors, writers, producer…

Cate Blanchett, Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins, Kristen Stewart, Marion Cotillard, Salma Hayek and Agnes Varda were among 82 women to take part in a gender equality protest on the red-carpet in Cannes this evening. The actors, directors, writers, producers, and distributors stood half way up the red carpet as a symbol of the challenges women face to climb the industry ladder. 82 represents the number of women directors who have had movies in Competition in Cannes during its…

Cannes Women’s Red Carpet: Festival To Sign Diversity Commitments, Cate Blanchett To Give #TimesUp Reading

EXCLUSIVE: In an unprecedented move in its 71-year history, the Cannes Film Festival will sign “concrete, strong commitments” on Monday around diversity.
In a statement sent to Deadline, the festival said: “The Festival de Cannes is partnering with a united positive action, initiated by the 5050 collective and Time’s Up. A symbolic image will be created on Saturday, May 12, before the signing of concrete, strong commitments on Monday, with diversity and parity guidelines.”…

EXCLUSIVE: In an unprecedented move in its 71-year history, the Cannes Film Festival will sign “concrete, strong commitments” on Monday around diversity. In a statement sent to Deadline, the festival said: “The Festival de Cannes is partnering with a united positive action, initiated by the 5050 collective and Time's Up. A symbolic image will be created on Saturday, May 12, before the signing of concrete, strong commitments on Monday, with diversity and parity guidelines.”…

Cannes’ Female Troubles: Women Directors Have Always Been Scarce

A version of this story appeared in TheWrap’s magazine’s Cannes issue.

For decades, the Cannes Film Festival has had a dismal record of showcasing the work of female directors. The rarefied club of Cannes-approved art-house auteurs, the filmmakers on whom the festival rests, has simply always been predominantly male.

Over the years, oversights and snubs have been easy to find. It’s hard to imagine, for instance, that directors as esteemed as Agnieszka Holland, Julie Taymor, Mira Nair, Kelly Reichardt or Elaine May haven’t warranted spots on the Croisette, or that Agnès Varda hasn’t deserved more than her single placement in the main competition, which she got in 1962 for “Cleo From 5 to 8.”

Yes, a female director, Barbara Virginia, had a film in competition in 1946, the first year that Cannes took place. But it wasn’t until 1954, with Carmen Toscano and Kinuyo Tanaka, that two women had films in the competition, and it wasn’t until 1961 that a woman won Cannes’ best director award. (Russian director Yuliya Sointseva was the first for “The Story of the Flaming Years.”)

Also Read: Cannes Film Festival to Offer Sexual Harassment Hotline

The stats are pretty dismal: Over the first 71 years of Cannes, a paltry 4.3 percent of the competition films have been directed by women. (See chart below.) Only one, Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” has won Cannes’ top prize, the Palme d’Or, though actresses Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seudoux were given honorary Palmes alongside “Blue Is the Warmest Color” director Abdellatif Kechiche’s real one in 2013.

Admittedly, things are getting better. Of the 11 times that three or more women have placed films in competition, eight have come in the last 13 years. Three women made the cut in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 — and four did so in 2011.

And the current decade is the first one in which more than 10 percent of the competition directors have been women — though Cannes faced immediate criticism this year for only including Alice Rohrwacher, Eva Husson and Nadine Labaki among its 21 competition directors.

Festival chief Thierry Frémaux has insisted that he will never make gender a programming factor, but the Un Certain Regard section has six solo women directors and one co-director among its 18 films, while the independent Critics’ Week competition finds women outnumbering men four to three.

Also Read: Penélope Cruz Says She Spent Months in ‘Terrifying Pain’ for Cannes Opener ‘Everybody Knows’

Rohrwacher, by the way, is in the Cannes main competition this year for the second time, bringing “Lazzaro Felice” to the Palais four years after her film “The Wonders” won the festival’s grand prize.

That makes her one of 10 women to have placed two films in the competition, the others being Sofia Coppola, Maiwenn Le Besco, Samira Makhmalbaf, Lucrecia Martel, Marta Meszaros, Lynne Ramsay, Margarethe von Trotta, Lina Wertmuller and Mai Zetterling.

The only women with more than two: Andrea Arnold, Jane Campion, Liliana Cavani and Nicole Garcia, with three each, and Japanese director Naomi Kawase with five.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Netflix CEO Disses Cannes Film Fest After Streamer Pulls Out: There Are ‘a Lot of Other Festivals’

Cannes Stands by Terry Gilliam’s ‘Don Quixote’ Despite Producer’s Lawsuit to Block Screening

Cannes Lineup Reaches From Spike Lee to Jean-Luc Godard

A version of this story appeared in TheWrap’s magazine’s Cannes issue.

For decades, the Cannes Film Festival has had a dismal record of showcasing the work of female directors. The rarefied club of Cannes-approved art-house auteurs, the filmmakers on whom the festival rests, has simply always been predominantly male.

Over the years, oversights and snubs have been easy to find. It’s hard to imagine, for instance, that directors as esteemed as Agnieszka Holland, Julie Taymor, Mira Nair, Kelly Reichardt or Elaine May haven’t warranted spots on the Croisette, or that Agnès Varda hasn’t deserved more than her single placement in the main competition, which she got in 1962 for “Cleo From 5 to 8.”

Yes, a female director, Barbara Virginia, had a film in competition in 1946, the first year that Cannes took place. But it wasn’t until 1954, with Carmen Toscano and Kinuyo Tanaka, that two women had films in the competition, and it wasn’t until 1961 that a woman won Cannes’ best director award. (Russian director Yuliya Sointseva was the first for “The Story of the Flaming Years.”)

The stats are pretty dismal: Over the first 71 years of Cannes, a paltry 4.3 percent of the competition films have been directed by women. (See chart below.) Only one, Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” has won Cannes’ top prize, the Palme d’Or, though actresses Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seudoux were given honorary Palmes alongside “Blue Is the Warmest Color” director Abdellatif Kechiche’s real one in 2013.

Admittedly, things are getting better. Of the 11 times that three or more women have placed films in competition, eight have come in the last 13 years. Three women made the cut in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 — and four did so in 2011.

And the current decade is the first one in which more than 10 percent of the competition directors have been women — though Cannes faced immediate criticism this year for only including Alice Rohrwacher, Eva Husson and Nadine Labaki among its 21 competition directors.

Festival chief Thierry Frémaux has insisted that he will never make gender a programming factor, but the Un Certain Regard section has six solo women directors and one co-director among its 18 films, while the independent Critics’ Week competition finds women outnumbering men four to three.

Rohrwacher, by the way, is in the Cannes main competition this year for the second time, bringing “Lazzaro Felice” to the Palais four years after her film “The Wonders” won the festival’s grand prize.

That makes her one of 10 women to have placed two films in the competition, the others being Sofia Coppola, Maiwenn Le Besco, Samira Makhmalbaf, Lucrecia Martel, Marta Meszaros, Lynne Ramsay, Margarethe von Trotta, Lina Wertmuller and Mai Zetterling.

The only women with more than two: Andrea Arnold, Jane Campion, Liliana Cavani and Nicole Garcia, with three each, and Japanese director Naomi Kawase with five.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Netflix CEO Disses Cannes Film Fest After Streamer Pulls Out: There Are 'a Lot of Other Festivals'

Cannes Stands by Terry Gilliam's 'Don Quixote' Despite Producer's Lawsuit to Block Screening

Cannes Lineup Reaches From Spike Lee to Jean-Luc Godard

Agnès Varda’s New Film is a Masterclass With Agnès Varda Called ‘Let’s Talk About Cinema’

Although “Faces Places” was rumored to be her last film, the French New Wave icon cannot retire without sharing her vast wealth of knowledge with the rest of us.

After earning an Oscar nomination for “Faces Places,” Agnès Varda isn’t through making movies just yet. Despite persistent rumors that “Faces Places” would be her final film, it turns out the 89-year-old cinema icon has more to say. Varda will co-direct a TV documentary with Didier Rouget, who lensed her critically acclaimed 2000 documentary “The Gleaners and I.” The next project, titled “Let’s Talk About Cinema,” will be a masterclass in the art of filmmaking from Varda herself.

“It’s really about transmission and education,” Rosalie Varda recently told Film Comment. The filmmaker’s daughter and a producer on the film, Rosalie produced “Faces Places” and worked previously as a costume designer. “She’s going to take extracts from her films and talk about them herself, explaining how she arrives to each scene, and how, in each film, she tries to find a new way of narration between fiction and documentary.”

“Let’s Talk About Cinema” will also feature guests and past collaborators, which Rosalie promised would be a “big surprise.” Varda has delivered countless masterclasses and lectures in filmmaking over the years, which inspired the idea for this latest project. In an interview with Vulture published in January, she said “Let’s Talk About Cinema” was a way for her to be able to turn down lecturing gigs. “I’m trying to film the lectures so that we’ll be able to send the film and no longer go,” she said. “What I’m doing now is a way to escape lectures. It’s like archiving myself.”

“Let’s Talk About Cinema” will begin production soon, and is eyeing a September release. Or, according to Rosalie: “Whenever she is happy with it.”

Oscars Eve Party Report: Nominees Celebrate with George Clooney (Photos)

On the night before the Oscars, George Clooney, Leslie Bibb, Sam Rockwell, and Jack Black were just a few of the big names at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Annual “Night Before” bash on the Fox Lot. With the help of Leonardo DiCaprio, Gal Gadot, Jon Hamm, Tom Cruise and nearly all the studio chiefs, they raised $5 million.

Over at Madeo in West Hollywood, lead actress and actor nominees Margot Robbie and Daniel Kaluuya each made one of the final stops of the campaign season, Charles Finch and Chanel’s Pre-Oscar Awards Dinner.

The Brits were best prepared for the cold and rainy weather over Oscar weekend. They tented the Hancock Park residence of British Consul General Michael Howells (left) from curbside to the backyard for the Film is GREAT reception on Friday night (Mar. 1). Inside, Howells entertained guests like Andy Serkis and nominee Gary Oldman with his take on the “30 second L.A. conversation” and called out all the people who “have not had as great a year as they were expecting, like sexual abusers, racists, and misogynists”. Get him an agent. This is his second winning speech this season.

Also Read: Royal Wedding Chatter at BAFTA: Hollywood-Royal Merger ‘Is Great News’ (Photos)

Power Huddle: Allison Janney, Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan had social gravity in the middle of the Spirit Awards tent on Saturday.

Meanwhile backstage, an odd pairing sprung up. That’s “The Room” maestro Tommy Wiseau with Chadwick Boseman, the man of the moment. They met up inside DIRECTV’s winners lounge.

Yvonne Orji, Tessa Thompson, Ava Duvernay, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Dee Rees embraced at Janelle Monae and Belvedere Vodka’s “Fem the Future” brunch at Catch in West Hollywood on Friday, one of the stronger turnouts of the weekend.

Lupita Nyong’o, Janelle Monae, and “Black Panther’s” Danai Gurira strike a familiar pose.

At Women In Film’s cocktail reception at Crustacean on Friday night, co-host Emma Stone greeted Oscar nominee Agnes Varda (“Faces Places”).

Varda would go on to win at Saturday’s Spirit Awards, getting a blast of good luck from fellow Oscar nominees and actual women in film like Tatiana S. Riegel, Rachel Morrison, Laura Checkoway, Diane Warren, and Kate Davis. Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker was the cocktail pour of choice.

For more from inside and backstage the Oscar weekend party circuit, click over here:

Also Read: Oscars Party Report: Brad Pitt, J.J. Abrams and Allison Janney as a Winner in Waiting (Photos)

Related stories from TheWrap:

Oscars 2018: Our Predictions in All 24 Categories (Photos)

Here’s What the Oscars Have Done to Avoid Another Envelope Disaster

Oscars: Why 5 Films Still Have a Shot at Best Picture in the Craziest Race in Years

On the night before the Oscars, George Clooney, Leslie Bibb, Sam Rockwell, and Jack Black were just a few of the big names at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Annual “Night Before” bash on the Fox Lot. With the help of Leonardo DiCaprio, Gal Gadot, Jon Hamm, Tom Cruise and nearly all the studio chiefs, they raised $5 million.

Over at Madeo in West Hollywood, lead actress and actor nominees Margot Robbie and Daniel Kaluuya each made one of the final stops of the campaign season, Charles Finch and Chanel’s Pre-Oscar Awards Dinner.

The Brits were best prepared for the cold and rainy weather over Oscar weekend. They tented the Hancock Park residence of British Consul General Michael Howells (left) from curbside to the backyard for the Film is GREAT reception on Friday night (Mar. 1). Inside, Howells entertained guests like Andy Serkis and nominee Gary Oldman with his take on the “30 second L.A. conversation” and called out all the people who “have not had as great a year as they were expecting, like sexual abusers, racists, and misogynists”. Get him an agent. This is his second winning speech this season.

Power Huddle: Allison Janney, Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan had social gravity in the middle of the Spirit Awards tent on Saturday.

Meanwhile backstage, an odd pairing sprung up. That’s “The Room” maestro Tommy Wiseau with Chadwick Boseman, the man of the moment. They met up inside DIRECTV’s winners lounge.

Yvonne Orji, Tessa Thompson, Ava Duvernay, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Dee Rees embraced at Janelle Monae and Belvedere Vodka’s “Fem the Future” brunch at Catch in West Hollywood on Friday, one of the stronger turnouts of the weekend.

Lupita Nyong’o, Janelle Monae, and “Black Panther’s” Danai Gurira strike a familiar pose.

At Women In Film’s cocktail reception at Crustacean on Friday night, co-host Emma Stone greeted Oscar nominee Agnes Varda (“Faces Places”).

Varda would go on to win at Saturday’s Spirit Awards, getting a blast of good luck from fellow Oscar nominees and actual women in film like Tatiana S. Riegel, Rachel Morrison, Laura Checkoway, Diane Warren, and Kate Davis. Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker was the cocktail pour of choice.

For more from inside and backstage the Oscar weekend party circuit, click over here:

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Oscars 2018: Our Predictions in All 24 Categories (Photos)

Here's What the Oscars Have Done to Avoid Another Envelope Disaster

Oscars: Why 5 Films Still Have a Shot at Best Picture in the Craziest Race in Years

‘Faces Places’ Wins Indie Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature

Legendary filmmaker Agnès Varda shares her first Indie Spirit Award with the photographer JR.

Faces Places” took home top honors at the 2018 Indie Spirit Awards, winning the trophy for Best Documentary Feature. Directed by legendary French filmmaker Agnès Varda and the modern artist JR, “Faces Places” (“Visages Villages”) follows Varda and JR as they travel around rural France, taking portraits of people they meet. The film has picked up multiple awards since its debut out of competition at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, including the festival’s Golden Eye Award.

“Faces Places” beat out other nominees “Quest” (Jonathan Olshefski), “Last Men in Aleppo” (Feras Fayyad), “Motherland” (Ramona S. Diaz), and “The Departure” (Lana Wilson). It will compete against “Last Men in Aleppo” for the Academy Award Sunday night, as well as “Icarus,” “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” and “Strong Island.”

“They didn’t plan that you would be so short,” JR said to Varda as she struggled to reach the microphone on the podium. “We never planned as making it a film at the beginning… This started more independent than anything,” he added.

This win marks the first Indie Spirit Award for Varda and JR. In 2015, Varda became the first person to receive an honorary Palme d’or, and she received the Academy Honorary Award for her contributions to cinema in 2017. Varda’s daughter, the producer Rosalie Varda, also accepted the award.

Different from the Oscars, the Independent Spirit Awards exclusively celebrate the best of independent cinema. Films must be made for less than $20 million in order to be eligible for the Indie Spirit Awards. The winners are voted on by Film Independent and IFP Members.

The 33rd Annual Spirit Awards were held in a beachfront tent next to the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday, March 3. Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney hosted the show for the second year in a row.

Agnès Varda & JR On ‘Faces Places,’ And The Real Story On That Agnès Cardboard Cutout

For a documentary that has won numerous awards and enters the Oscar homestretch a strong contender, Faces Places began modestly enough.
“We didn’t aim big at the beginning, we aimed to just work together and do it on a scale that would be small enough that it would be no pressure and we could have fun,” co-director JR tells Deadline. “I was like, ‘Why don’t we do a three-minute video and just put it on YouTube?'”
That proposed small-scale collaboration with French New…

For a documentary that has won numerous awards and enters the Oscar homestretch a strong contender, Faces Places began modestly enough. "We didn’t aim big at the beginning, we aimed to just work together and do it on a scale that would be small enough that it would be no pressure and we could have fun," co-director JR tells Deadline. "I was like, ‘Why don’t we do a three-minute video and just put it on YouTube?'" That proposed small-scale collaboration with French New…

‘Faces Places’ Director JR Explains Agnes Varda Cardboard Cutout at Oscars Luncheon (Video)

Lurking in the very back row next to Meryl Streep and Greta Gerwig in the Class Photo of 2018 Oscar nominees is French New Wave director Agnes Varda. But if you’re wondering why she’s standing there looking away from the camera with a perplexed expression glued to her face, it’s because it really is glued there.

With Varda unable to attend the luncheon, her “Faces Places” co-director JR brought as his companion a life-size cardboard cutout of Varda to stand next to him in the photo. At first glance, it’s just a cute moment. But JR told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman as part of our screening series that it was actually a perfect embodiment of their project’s spirit.

“That moment of going to that lunch was almost like taking an image from the film and bringing it into reality and just moving on with it and seeing the world changing around just because of a cardboard, because of the idea that you can take photos and change enough context,” JR said. “That’s what we’ve been doing with Agnes — take photos of people, enlarge them bigger than life in their own village where people know them, but people would reinterpret them.”

Also Read: Oscar Nominees Explain What Makes Documentaries Feel ‘Alive’ (Video)

“Faces Places” finds Varda and JR taking a delightful, whimsical road trip through Europe in JR’s traveling photo booth. They’d take photos of locals in small villages, print them out, blow them up and paste massive versions on the sides of buildings. It’s a film about how an image can change your perspective on a location, open up emotions and spark conversations that no one ever imagined before. They take ordinary people in quaint locations, and with some simple street art, they’ve found a way to immortalize them.

“We were two kids trying to do crazy things and see if it works,” JR said. “She’s always tuned in because she’s curious about everything. She showed me how to be curious about everything around you. It’s a real gift to be able to work with her.”

JR said he and Varda have become fast friends since beginning filming on “Faces Places.” And prior to the luncheon, they had never done a screening apart. He decided he would print the cardboard cutout, but was nervous about trying to take it to Los Angeles on a plane.

Also Read: ‘Faces Places’ Review: Agnès Varda Takes a Joyful Artist’s Journey Into Rural France

“People have been so nice, ‘let’s get you a seat, let’s get you through security!’ They didn’t know her, but the idea that she’s 90 years old and she’s never been Oscar nominated in her whole life, they were like, we need to help her, and suddenly everything has become open,” JR said.

JR himself appeared larger than life in front of TheWrap’s screening audience on Wednesday. He Skyped into the panel discussion, his face dwarfing his other panelists on the massive movie screen behind them, which likewise felt like a reminder of the film’s ideas. But of course, he kept his signature dark sunglasses on throughout the Q&A, even at one point pantomiming a bad video connection during the moment when he was about to take off his glasses for the audience to see.

“The reason I wear the sunglasses is because the work that I do, not in France but in other countries, is considered illegal. In some countries I’ve been in jail, and in others I’ve been invited into a museum,” JR explained.

Also Read: ‘Faces Places’ Directors Agnès Varda and JR Look for Fun in a ‘Disgusting’ World

But Varda might still be the best person to Skype with, as whenever JR gets on a call with her, he only ever sees the top of her head. And as a perfect capper to the evening, he dug out the life-size cardboard he brought with him to the Oscars as well as another adorable looking still of her peeking out over the frame.

Check out the video of him talking about the cardboard stand-up above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

10 Best Documentaries of 2017, From ‘Faces Places’ to ‘Kiki’ (Photos)

‘Faces Places’ Directors Agnès Varda and JR Look for Fun in a ‘Disgusting’ World

‘Faces Places’ Review: Agnès Varda Takes a Joyful Artist’s Journey Into Rural France

Lurking in the very back row next to Meryl Streep and Greta Gerwig in the Class Photo of 2018 Oscar nominees is French New Wave director Agnes Varda. But if you’re wondering why she’s standing there looking away from the camera with a perplexed expression glued to her face, it’s because it really is glued there.

With Varda unable to attend the luncheon, her “Faces Places” co-director JR brought as his companion a life-size cardboard cutout of Varda to stand next to him in the photo. At first glance, it’s just a cute moment. But JR told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman as part of our screening series that it was actually a perfect embodiment of their project’s spirit.

“That moment of going to that lunch was almost like taking an image from the film and bringing it into reality and just moving on with it and seeing the world changing around just because of a cardboard, because of the idea that you can take photos and change enough context,” JR said. “That’s what we’ve been doing with Agnes — take photos of people, enlarge them bigger than life in their own village where people know them, but people would reinterpret them.”

“Faces Places” finds Varda and JR taking a delightful, whimsical road trip through Europe in JR’s traveling photo booth. They’d take photos of locals in small villages, print them out, blow them up and paste massive versions on the sides of buildings. It’s a film about how an image can change your perspective on a location, open up emotions and spark conversations that no one ever imagined before. They take ordinary people in quaint locations, and with some simple street art, they’ve found a way to immortalize them.

“We were two kids trying to do crazy things and see if it works,” JR said. “She’s always tuned in because she’s curious about everything. She showed me how to be curious about everything around you. It’s a real gift to be able to work with her.”

JR said he and Varda have become fast friends since beginning filming on “Faces Places.” And prior to the luncheon, they had never done a screening apart. He decided he would print the cardboard cutout, but was nervous about trying to take it to Los Angeles on a plane.

“People have been so nice, ‘let’s get you a seat, let’s get you through security!’ They didn’t know her, but the idea that she’s 90 years old and she’s never been Oscar nominated in her whole life, they were like, we need to help her, and suddenly everything has become open,” JR said.

JR himself appeared larger than life in front of TheWrap’s screening audience on Wednesday. He Skyped into the panel discussion, his face dwarfing his other panelists on the massive movie screen behind them, which likewise felt like a reminder of the film’s ideas. But of course, he kept his signature dark sunglasses on throughout the Q&A, even at one point pantomiming a bad video connection during the moment when he was about to take off his glasses for the audience to see.

“The reason I wear the sunglasses is because the work that I do, not in France but in other countries, is considered illegal. In some countries I’ve been in jail, and in others I’ve been invited into a museum,” JR explained.

But Varda might still be the best person to Skype with, as whenever JR gets on a call with her, he only ever sees the top of her head. And as a perfect capper to the evening, he dug out the life-size cardboard he brought with him to the Oscars as well as another adorable looking still of her peeking out over the frame.

Check out the video of him talking about the cardboard stand-up above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

10 Best Documentaries of 2017, From 'Faces Places' to 'Kiki' (Photos)

'Faces Places' Directors Agnès Varda and JR Look for Fun in a 'Disgusting' World

'Faces Places' Review: Agnès Varda Takes a Joyful Artist's Journey Into Rural France

Oscar Nominees Explain What Makes Documentaries Feel ‘Alive’ (Video)

One of the axioms of great documentary filmmaking is the idea that you start making your movie expecting one thing, but find the story is something completely different during the course of filming.

It doesn’t feel like it’s true of every documentary you see, but it certainly is true for the five Oscar nominated documentary features this year. And if you ask these filmmakers, they’ll tell you that discovery process is essential for anyone who is being true to their medium.

“If you made a documentary film and had an idea of what it was going to be and the film was exactly that at the end, it would be a totally dead product,” Dan Cogan, the co-director of “Icarus,” told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman. “The thing that makes it alive is discovering how it changes and running with that and following that, and the skill of it is to recognize what’s unfolding and follow the essence of that story and follow it as it goes.”

Also Read: Short Documentary Oscar Nominees on Advantages, Intimacy of Short Form (Exclusive Video)

Filmmakers from each of the five documentary features spoke as part of TheWrap’s panel discussion at the Landmark Theatres in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. The films are wildly different, ranging from tragedies personal and global to more lighthearted journeys, but each grew into the powerful movies we see today.

“Icarus” seems to most clearly embody that philosophy of how a good documentary evolves, with Cogan and Bryan Fogel drastically changing course once they realized their subject, Grigory Rodchenkov, was the mastermind behind the Russian doping scandal and that his life was in grave danger.

“I was in way deeper than I had expected to be,” Fogel said. “That process was essentially two and a half years in the making before we were in so deep and realized that we were sitting on a whistleblower and a trove of evidence that was irrefutable and so spectacular in scope it changed essentially all of Olympic history, because what Russia had been doing in Sochi was just the icing on the cake.”

Also Read: ‘Heroin(e)’ Director Investigates How Small Towns Battle With Opioids: ‘It Was Pills, It Was Heroin’

But the other four documentaries followed a similar trajectory. Yance Ford spent 10 years trying to make his personal crime story “Strong Island,” and two years into the course of filming, Trayvon Martin was murdered. The film is a hybrid of a true-crime documentary and a family portrait about how his brother William was shot and killed by a white man. And time and again, Ford watched the movie’s narrative unfold before him. As a result, “Strong Island” had to change to react to the changing culture.

“I wouldn’t have imagined that the same narrative about fear and hyper-physicality would actually repeat itself in some instances in the Zimmerman case,” Ford said. “I realized that this history of racialized violence, this use of fear as a justification for homicide, was much older than the Martin case. It was much older than my brother’s.”

Mark Mitten, the producer of “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” was close with the Sung family, who operated the family-run bank Abacus located in New York’s Chinatown. When they were indicted and chose to fight the government by going to court, he had no idea how the trial was going to pan out and what the fate of this family would be.

Also Read: Yes, Lance Armstrong Saw Doping Documentary ‘Icarus’ – and Was ‘Blown Away’

“Nobody was covering this story,” Mitten said. “I did some investigating and found out they were the only bank going to be indicted for mortgage fraud as part of the 2008 financial crisis, which is pretty remarkable.”

And of course Mitten’s director on “Abacus,” Steve James, knows a thing or two about not knowing the ending of a documentary before he starts. This is James’s first Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature, but he previously directed the famous ’90s film “Hoop Dreams,” spending four years with the two Chicago high school students at its center. James spoke about the challenges of not being able to film during the court proceedings and how he still managed to tell the Sung family’s story.

“It’s the lesson of how you make a film with great limitations. It’s figuring out how to still try to tell the story needs to be told and tell it in a hopefully compelling way despite those limitations. ” James said. “Sometimes limitations can be a great inspiration to and can lead to focusing in different ways.”

Also Read: ‘Strong Island’ Review: Poignant Netflix Doc Covers Race, Crime and a Family’s Pain

Feras Fayyad, the director of the harrowing Syrian documentary “Last Men in Aleppo,” got out of being tortured in a Syrian prison and picked up a camera. He put his camera right at the eye lines of the local Syrian first responders, or the White Helmets, and saw through their eyes the horrors they were witnesses to. Fayyad had no idea whether his subjects would even one day make it out of Aleppo alive.

“If you want to tell something, keep it in your mind and show it in a different way,” Fayyad said. “When I got out of prison, I had in my mind to do this film, but I knew I would be facing the war machine and the intelligent services and all that. But I’m not the only one. There were many artists and filmmakers who were arrested in the same time, trying to do this. I’m the lucky one who gets this idea to bring it in front of people and watch it here.”

Ted Soqui

And then there’s JR, the French artist who along with the legendary French New Wave director Agnes Varda made the delightful European road trip movie “Faces Places.” He charmingly Skyped into the panel discussion, with his face appearing larger than life on the movie screen behind the panelists. The frivolity of “Faces Places” doesn’t suggest the same sort of challenges or sense of danger some of these filmmakers faced. The truck they toured the countryside in didn’t break down, and they didn’t run out of equipment during a job. But it wasn’t until months into their journey that they realized they would even be making a film.

Also Read: ‘Faces Places’ Directors Agnès Varda and JR Look for Fun in a ‘Disgusting’ World

“We actually got to know each other making this film,” JR said. “That’s why we were moving with such lightness because there was never this weight of. what will be the story? Where is this taking us?”

One of these five films will win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature on March 4. So we don’t know how this story ends either.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Short Documentary Oscar Nominees on Advantages, Intimacy of Short Form (Exclusive Video)

Gilda Radner Documentary ‘Love, Gilda’ to Open Tribeca Film Festival

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Documentary ‘RBG’ Sold to Magnolia, Participant in Worldwide Deal

Yes, Lance Armstrong Saw Doping Documentary ‘Icarus’ – and Was ‘Blown Away’

One of the axioms of great documentary filmmaking is the idea that you start making your movie expecting one thing, but find the story is something completely different during the course of filming.

It doesn’t feel like it’s true of every documentary you see, but it certainly is true for the five Oscar nominated documentary features this year. And if you ask these filmmakers, they’ll tell you that discovery process is essential for anyone who is being true to their medium.

“If you made a documentary film and had an idea of what it was going to be and the film was exactly that at the end, it would be a totally dead product,” Dan Cogan, the co-director of “Icarus,” told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman. “The thing that makes it alive is discovering how it changes and running with that and following that, and the skill of it is to recognize what’s unfolding and follow the essence of that story and follow it as it goes.”

Filmmakers from each of the five documentary features spoke as part of TheWrap’s panel discussion at the Landmark Theatres in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. The films are wildly different, ranging from tragedies personal and global to more lighthearted journeys, but each grew into the powerful movies we see today.

“Icarus” seems to most clearly embody that philosophy of how a good documentary evolves, with Cogan and Bryan Fogel drastically changing course once they realized their subject, Grigory Rodchenkov, was the mastermind behind the Russian doping scandal and that his life was in grave danger.

“I was in way deeper than I had expected to be,” Fogel said. “That process was essentially two and a half years in the making before we were in so deep and realized that we were sitting on a whistleblower and a trove of evidence that was irrefutable and so spectacular in scope it changed essentially all of Olympic history, because what Russia had been doing in Sochi was just the icing on the cake.”

But the other four documentaries followed a similar trajectory. Yance Ford spent 10 years trying to make his personal crime story “Strong Island,” and two years into the course of filming, Trayvon Martin was murdered. The film is a hybrid of a true-crime documentary and a family portrait about how his brother William was shot and killed by a white man. And time and again, Ford watched the movie’s narrative unfold before him. As a result, “Strong Island” had to change to react to the changing culture.

“I wouldn’t have imagined that the same narrative about fear and hyper-physicality would actually repeat itself in some instances in the Zimmerman case,” Ford said. “I realized that this history of racialized violence, this use of fear as a justification for homicide, was much older than the Martin case. It was much older than my brother’s.”

Mark Mitten, the producer of “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” was close with the Sung family, who operated the family-run bank Abacus located in New York’s Chinatown. When they were indicted and chose to fight the government by going to court, he had no idea how the trial was going to pan out and what the fate of this family would be.

“Nobody was covering this story,” Mitten said. “I did some investigating and found out they were the only bank going to be indicted for mortgage fraud as part of the 2008 financial crisis, which is pretty remarkable.”

And of course Mitten’s director on “Abacus,” Steve James, knows a thing or two about not knowing the ending of a documentary before he starts. This is James’s first Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature, but he previously directed the famous ’90s film “Hoop Dreams,” spending four years with the two Chicago high school students at its center. James spoke about the challenges of not being able to film during the court proceedings and how he still managed to tell the Sung family’s story.

“It’s the lesson of how you make a film with great limitations. It’s figuring out how to still try to tell the story needs to be told and tell it in a hopefully compelling way despite those limitations. ” James said. “Sometimes limitations can be a great inspiration to and can lead to focusing in different ways.”

Feras Fayyad, the director of the harrowing Syrian documentary “Last Men in Aleppo,” got out of being tortured in a Syrian prison and picked up a camera. He put his camera right at the eye lines of the local Syrian first responders, or the White Helmets, and saw through their eyes the horrors they were witnesses to. Fayyad had no idea whether his subjects would even one day make it out of Aleppo alive.

“If you want to tell something, keep it in your mind and show it in a different way,” Fayyad said. “When I got out of prison, I had in my mind to do this film, but I knew I would be facing the war machine and the intelligent services and all that. But I’m not the only one. There were many artists and filmmakers who were arrested in the same time, trying to do this. I’m the lucky one who gets this idea to bring it in front of people and watch it here.”

Ted Soqui

And then there’s JR, the French artist who along with the legendary French New Wave director Agnes Varda made the delightful European road trip movie “Faces Places.” He charmingly Skyped into the panel discussion, with his face appearing larger than life on the movie screen behind the panelists. The frivolity of “Faces Places” doesn’t suggest the same sort of challenges or sense of danger some of these filmmakers faced. The truck they toured the countryside in didn’t break down, and they didn’t run out of equipment during a job. But it wasn’t until months into their journey that they realized they would even be making a film.

“We actually got to know each other making this film,” JR said. “That’s why we were moving with such lightness because there was never this weight of. what will be the story? Where is this taking us?”

One of these five films will win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature on March 4. So we don’t know how this story ends either.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Short Documentary Oscar Nominees on Advantages, Intimacy of Short Form (Exclusive Video)

Gilda Radner Documentary 'Love, Gilda' to Open Tribeca Film Festival

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Documentary 'RBG' Sold to Magnolia, Participant in Worldwide Deal

Yes, Lance Armstrong Saw Doping Documentary 'Icarus' – and Was 'Blown Away'

Agnès Varda says her Oscar nomination is nice, but “nothing to be proud of”

Agnès Varda has been making movies for more than 60 years without any Oscars, so what would she need one for now? That’s the essence of the 89-year-old French filmmaker’s comments to the Associated Press about her dual nods from the Academy this year, one in the Best Documentary Feature category with her daughter…

Read more…

Agnès Varda has been making movies for more than 60 years without any Oscars, so what would she need one for now? That’s the essence of the 89-year-old French filmmaker’s comments to the Associated Press about her dual nods from the Academy this year, one in the Best Documentary Feature category with her daughter…

Read more...

Agnes Varda Sets Off to New Film Journey With MK2 (EXCLUSIVE)

Rolling off an honorary Oscar and worldwide acclaim for “Faces Places,” iconic French auteur Agnes Varda is re-teaming with MK2 for her next untitled documentary project, which she will co-direct with Didier Rouget. Described by MK2 as an “unpredictable documentary” from a “fascinating storyteller,” Varda’s next film will shed light on her experience as a […]

Rolling off an honorary Oscar and worldwide acclaim for “Faces Places,” iconic French auteur Agnes Varda is re-teaming with MK2 for her next untitled documentary project, which she will co-direct with Didier Rouget. Described by MK2 as an “unpredictable documentary” from a “fascinating storyteller,” Varda’s next film will shed light on her experience as a […]

10 Best Documentaries of 2017, From ‘Faces Places’ to ‘Kiki’ (Photos)

From the intimate and personal to the vast and far-reaching, spanning life and death and hope and anger and artistry, 2017’s best documentaries captured struggle and triumph and the creative drive. Non-fiction storytelling pushed boundaries and buttons, asking the important questions and inspiring us to seek justice and to broaden our horizons.

10. “Bones of Contention”: Director Andrea Weiss used the search for the remains of legendary Spanish author Federico Garcia-Lorca as a way to ask a bigger question that haunts the nation: Where are the mass graves of Franco’s victims in the Spanish Civil War? And is the country ready to heal its figurative and literal wounds from that conflict, nearly a century later?

9. “Kiki”: A quarter of a century after “Paris Is Burning” explored the New York drag ball subculture, this vibrant, dazzling documentary shows us that the balls are still alive and kicking, with a new generation of talented young people strutting their stuff and building on the houses and the chosen families that came before them.

8. “Dina”: As autistic adults Dina and Scott prepare for their upcoming wedding day, filmmakers Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles give us the opportunity to get to know Dina, a brassy, complicated woman navigating her way through whatever life sends her way. There’s nothing condescending about this fascinating portrait of a couple working through their issues on the way to the altar.

7. “Obit.”: This look at the writers at The New York Times who chronicle the dead becomes a celebration of life and its fascinating twists and turns, even as the impending death of the print medium lingers in the background. What it takes for a writer to capture someone’s life — and what an obituary says about how that life was lived — makes for a riveting yarn.

6. “Strong Island”: Filmmaker Yance Ford compellingly mashes up the first-person and true-crime documentary genres in his investigation into his brother’s murder. Part family history, part exploration of race and gender in America, this haunting tale keeps coming back to Ford’s expressive face, reliving personal horrors and driven to seek justice.

5. “Chavela”: The life and career of legendary Mexican ranchera singer Chavela Vargas makes for fascinating viewing even if you aren’t familiar with her famous pipes or heartbreaking songs. Boldly flouting convention in her choice of clothing (she favored men’s suits) and partners (Frida Kahlo was one of her many female lovers), Vargas became an female icon and role model in a conservative and patriarchal time.

4. “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”: Both a celebration of the life of the larger-than-life LGBT activist and an examination of the ongoing investigation into the circumstances behind her passing — the NYPD called it suicide, many are convinced it was murder — this latest work from David France (“How to Survive a Plague”) is a stirring call to action.

3. “Whose Streets?”: The smartphone is revolutionizing citizen journalism and documentary filmmaking; this look into the protests in Ferguson, Mo., following the murder of Michael Brown has a fly-on-the-wall immediacy that’s breathtaking and heartbreaking. A searing portrait of race relations and the power of community in the face of official indifference.

2. “Ex Libris: The New York Public Library”: Legendary director Frederick Wiseman takes his camera everywhere from the gala fund-raisers and high-profile author appearances in Manhattan to after-school programs and job fairs in the Bronx for this portrait of this era’s most valuable currency, information, and an examination of who wields it and who can access it.

1. “Faces Places”: One of the last surviving filmmakers of the French New Wave, Agnès Varda turns her camera on herself and installation artist J.R. (her co-director here) as they travel around France plastering the faces of farmers on barns and factory workers on brick walls. Varda and J.R. celebrate people and their stories, the places we take for granted, and the spirit of creation and community. For me, no other film in 2017 called up as much emotion and delight.

From the intimate and personal to the vast and far-reaching, spanning life and death and hope and anger and artistry, 2017’s best documentaries captured struggle and triumph and the creative drive. Non-fiction storytelling pushed boundaries and buttons, asking the important questions and inspiring us to seek justice and to broaden our horizons.

10. “Bones of Contention”: Director Andrea Weiss used the search for the remains of legendary Spanish author Federico Garcia-Lorca as a way to ask a bigger question that haunts the nation: Where are the mass graves of Franco’s victims in the Spanish Civil War? And is the country ready to heal its figurative and literal wounds from that conflict, nearly a century later?

9. “Kiki”: A quarter of a century after “Paris Is Burning” explored the New York drag ball subculture, this vibrant, dazzling documentary shows us that the balls are still alive and kicking, with a new generation of talented young people strutting their stuff and building on the houses and the chosen families that came before them.

8. “Dina”: As autistic adults Dina and Scott prepare for their upcoming wedding day, filmmakers Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles give us the opportunity to get to know Dina, a brassy, complicated woman navigating her way through whatever life sends her way. There’s nothing condescending about this fascinating portrait of a couple working through their issues on the way to the altar.

7. “Obit.”: This look at the writers at The New York Times who chronicle the dead becomes a celebration of life and its fascinating twists and turns, even as the impending death of the print medium lingers in the background. What it takes for a writer to capture someone’s life — and what an obituary says about how that life was lived — makes for a riveting yarn.

6. “Strong Island”: Filmmaker Yance Ford compellingly mashes up the first-person and true-crime documentary genres in his investigation into his brother’s murder. Part family history, part exploration of race and gender in America, this haunting tale keeps coming back to Ford’s expressive face, reliving personal horrors and driven to seek justice.

5. “Chavela”: The life and career of legendary Mexican ranchera singer Chavela Vargas makes for fascinating viewing even if you aren’t familiar with her famous pipes or heartbreaking songs. Boldly flouting convention in her choice of clothing (she favored men’s suits) and partners (Frida Kahlo was one of her many female lovers), Vargas became an female icon and role model in a conservative and patriarchal time.

4. “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”: Both a celebration of the life of the larger-than-life LGBT activist and an examination of the ongoing investigation into the circumstances behind her passing — the NYPD called it suicide, many are convinced it was murder — this latest work from David France (“How to Survive a Plague”) is a stirring call to action.

3. “Whose Streets?”: The smartphone is revolutionizing citizen journalism and documentary filmmaking; this look into the protests in Ferguson, Mo., following the murder of Michael Brown has a fly-on-the-wall immediacy that’s breathtaking and heartbreaking. A searing portrait of race relations and the power of community in the face of official indifference.

2. “Ex Libris: The New York Public Library”: Legendary director Frederick Wiseman takes his camera everywhere from the gala fund-raisers and high-profile author appearances in Manhattan to after-school programs and job fairs in the Bronx for this portrait of this era’s most valuable currency, information, and an examination of who wields it and who can access it.

1. “Faces Places”: One of the last surviving filmmakers of the French New Wave, Agnès Varda turns her camera on herself and installation artist J.R. (her co-director here) as they travel around France plastering the faces of farmers on barns and factory workers on brick walls. Varda and J.R. celebrate people and their stories, the places we take for granted, and the spirit of creation and community. For me, no other film in 2017 called up as much emotion and delight.

‘Faces Places’ Directors Agnès Varda and JR Look for Fun in a ‘Disgusting’ World

This interview with Agnès Varda and JR about “Faces Places” was conducted for the Race Begins issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

An Honorary Academy Award is usually the kind of career-achievement honor given to artists who are no longer active, but that’s not the case with one of this year’s recipients, Agnès Varda. Not only did the pioneering director, a rare female filmmaker to come out of the French New Wave, win her Honorary Oscar on Saturday, but she is in the thick of this year’s Oscar documentary race with “Faces Places,” the open-hearted, utterly beguiling travelogue she made with French street artist JR.

Varda, 89, and JR, 34, roamed the country photographing and interviewing villagers and factory workers, putting their stories onscreen and blowing up their portraits into huge murals that covered the sides of buildings. There is impish wit, tenderness and love in this collaboration, which Varda and JR spoke about to TheWrap.

Also Read: ‘Faces Places’ Review: Agnès Varda Takes a Joyful Artist’s Journey Into Rural France

(But Varda did most of the talking: JR was late, and even when he was there he deferred to his legendary colleague and friend.)

How familiar were you with JR’s work before you made this movie?
AGNÈS VARDA I knew books. I saw a book where he took portraits of very old people. I was impressed that he made portraits of old Chinese women in Shanghai, old Cuban women in Havana. So I liked that very much.

We had never met. But my daughter Rosalie, who ended up producing the film, called him and said, “Why don’t you come say hello to Agnès?” So he came.

The first day, he took a picture of me. The next day, I went to his studio, I took a picture of him. The third day we were in my kitchen thinking about what we would do. Eating cakes. Eclair with chocolate. Drinking fruit juice.

It was sudden. We have used the sentence friendship at first sight, and it’s really what happened.

Also Read: 170 Films Enter Oscars Documentary Category, Setting New Record

“Friendship at first sight” is a good start, but that doesn’t make you collaborators.
VARDA That’s why we went in the kitchen. We said, “What could we do? Maybe a short, or an installation.” Building something with our two minds. It would be images and sound, like cinema. And we did that crowd-funding on the net. We said, “We’d like to do something together. We need 50,000 Euro. Could you give them to us?” And people sent 12 Euro, 20 Euro … They are all named at the beginning of the film. In the credits, we have 420 names.

How did you choose where you would go with your cameras?
VARDA We start in the South of France because we knew people there. Because I’m old and easily tired, we decide to work only one week a month, over 18 months.

Meanwhile we were starting to look at how it fits. “Hmm, something is missing. Let’s meet a farmer.” “Somebody spoke about the abandoned village, let’s do something.”

We wanted to have a sociologic point of view about people. We love people who have no power. Unknown people. We love to give them the light that they don’t have every day. We thought we should learn about these people, and share it with the audience, in a good mood. Because we are both in good mood. It’s obvious.

Also Read: Oscars’ Governors Awards Party in the Shadow of Hollywood’s Dark Times

Yes it is.
VARDA The main word is link. Link between us and these people. And now it is a link between those people and you. You feel like you know them.

That mood of playfulness, delight and happiness is very different from most documentaries these days.
VARDA We know the world is disgusting, the news are terrible. You open the TV news, it’s one bad news after another. So much tragedy, people dying. Plus the violence, plus the migrants everywhere trying to escape poverty to go to another poverty. And the people drown in the boats… We see the news, and we suffer to be in a century of so much tragedy. But should we add to the news of the bad times? We have been there. We saw the attack in the Bataclan club in Paris. We saw everything.

So we decided, “Let’s do it among peaceful people.” We never asked them their opinion in politics. We did not want to know. Just their life, their family, their thoughts.

I’ve been fighting in my life. I remember being in the streets as a feminist. Being in the streets as a leftist. I still believe, sometimes you do action like this. But then, as artists, our way of action is different with this film. As I say, we did not ask them about politics. We just decided to make them be in light.

Also Read: ‘Jane’ Wins Top Prize at Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards

Was it hard to figure out how to structure the film?
JR Yeah. But that was in the edit, and Agnes love editing. It’s really her master room, where day and night, in her sleep, she thinks about all those ideas.

VARDA I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and think, “That shot could be better,” and then I go back to sleep. I do editing in my dreams. No, not my dreams. My half an hour awake in the middle of the night.

JR I’m sure you edit in your dreams.

VARDA In my dreams? No. I dream of nothing. No work, nothing special.

JR Do you have science-fiction dreams, or do you have dreams like me? My dreams are like, I pack my suitcase, I’m trying to go to the plane. I have very classic stress dreams. What are your dreams?

VARDA I have stupid dreams, I would say. They are nothing artistic, which disappoints me so much. I know people who work from their dreams – they have, like, artistic dreams, and they are telling me and I think, “Oh my God, I would just film what they say.” But I dream of putting things away, on ladders, in boxes. I would like to be an artist with dreams of images. And especially I would like to dream about surrealistic things. Because I love surrealism so much – the poetry at that time, the painting, the nonsense, the absurdity of surrealism got to me. But it didn’t come to my dreams. Sorry, sorry.

Also Read: ‘Hunting Ground’ Filmmakers to Make Hollywood Sexual Assault Documentary

Your old friend Jean-Luc Godard didn’t show up when he received his Honorary Academy Award, but you did.
VARDA It was nice, I think. I guess we get awards because we have worked for the cinema, but we didn’t make money so we get honorary  ones. We are in the margin, and proud to be there.

The honorary award makes clear that I’m not in the business game. But I am in the cinema game. I’ve been always interested in the language of cinema, in the way you can use the cinema to push the people to dream and think and open sometimes a window that they forgot to open. I love the idea that we slightly change their mentality, at least related to images and sound. We cannot change the life, but we can bring the fresh air sometimes.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Donald Sutherland, Charles Burnett Lead Honorary 2017 Governors Awards

‘City of Ghosts,’ ‘Strong Island’ Lead Cinema Eye Honors Nominations

‘Human Flow’ Review: Ai Weiwei Turns a Compassionate Eye to Refugee Crisis

This interview with Agnès Varda and JR about “Faces Places” was conducted for the Race Begins issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

An Honorary Academy Award is usually the kind of career-achievement honor given to artists who are no longer active, but that’s not the case with one of this year’s recipients, Agnès Varda. Not only did the pioneering director, a rare female filmmaker to come out of the French New Wave, win her Honorary Oscar on Saturday, but she is in the thick of this year’s Oscar documentary race with “Faces Places,” the open-hearted, utterly beguiling travelogue she made with French street artist JR.

Varda, 89, and JR, 34, roamed the country photographing and interviewing villagers and factory workers, putting their stories onscreen and blowing up their portraits into huge murals that covered the sides of buildings. There is impish wit, tenderness and love in this collaboration, which Varda and JR spoke about to TheWrap.

(But Varda did most of the talking: JR was late, and even when he was there he deferred to his legendary colleague and friend.)

How familiar were you with JR’s work before you made this movie?
AGNÈS VARDA I knew books. I saw a book where he took portraits of very old people. I was impressed that he made portraits of old Chinese women in Shanghai, old Cuban women in Havana. So I liked that very much.

We had never met. But my daughter Rosalie, who ended up producing the film, called him and said, “Why don’t you come say hello to Agnès?” So he came.

The first day, he took a picture of me. The next day, I went to his studio, I took a picture of him. The third day we were in my kitchen thinking about what we would do. Eating cakes. Eclair with chocolate. Drinking fruit juice.

It was sudden. We have used the sentence friendship at first sight, and it’s really what happened.

“Friendship at first sight” is a good start, but that doesn’t make you collaborators.
VARDA That’s why we went in the kitchen. We said, “What could we do? Maybe a short, or an installation.” Building something with our two minds. It would be images and sound, like cinema. And we did that crowd-funding on the net. We said, “We’d like to do something together. We need 50,000 Euro. Could you give them to us?” And people sent 12 Euro, 20 Euro … They are all named at the beginning of the film. In the credits, we have 420 names.

How did you choose where you would go with your cameras?
VARDA We start in the South of France because we knew people there. Because I’m old and easily tired, we decide to work only one week a month, over 18 months.

Meanwhile we were starting to look at how it fits. “Hmm, something is missing. Let’s meet a farmer.” “Somebody spoke about the abandoned village, let’s do something.”

We wanted to have a sociologic point of view about people. We love people who have no power. Unknown people. We love to give them the light that they don’t have every day. We thought we should learn about these people, and share it with the audience, in a good mood. Because we are both in good mood. It’s obvious.

Yes it is.
VARDA The main word is link. Link between us and these people. And now it is a link between those people and you. You feel like you know them.

That mood of playfulness, delight and happiness is very different from most documentaries these days.
VARDA We know the world is disgusting, the news are terrible. You open the TV news, it’s one bad news after another. So much tragedy, people dying. Plus the violence, plus the migrants everywhere trying to escape poverty to go to another poverty. And the people drown in the boats… We see the news, and we suffer to be in a century of so much tragedy. But should we add to the news of the bad times? We have been there. We saw the attack in the Bataclan club in Paris. We saw everything.

So we decided, “Let’s do it among peaceful people.” We never asked them their opinion in politics. We did not want to know. Just their life, their family, their thoughts.

I’ve been fighting in my life. I remember being in the streets as a feminist. Being in the streets as a leftist. I still believe, sometimes you do action like this. But then, as artists, our way of action is different with this film. As I say, we did not ask them about politics. We just decided to make them be in light.

Was it hard to figure out how to structure the film?
JR Yeah. But that was in the edit, and Agnes love editing. It’s really her master room, where day and night, in her sleep, she thinks about all those ideas.

VARDA I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and think, “That shot could be better,” and then I go back to sleep. I do editing in my dreams. No, not my dreams. My half an hour awake in the middle of the night.

JR I’m sure you edit in your dreams.

VARDA In my dreams? No. I dream of nothing. No work, nothing special.

JR Do you have science-fiction dreams, or do you have dreams like me? My dreams are like, I pack my suitcase, I’m trying to go to the plane. I have very classic stress dreams. What are your dreams?

VARDA I have stupid dreams, I would say. They are nothing artistic, which disappoints me so much. I know people who work from their dreams – they have, like, artistic dreams, and they are telling me and I think, “Oh my God, I would just film what they say.” But I dream of putting things away, on ladders, in boxes. I would like to be an artist with dreams of images. And especially I would like to dream about surrealistic things. Because I love surrealism so much – the poetry at that time, the painting, the nonsense, the absurdity of surrealism got to me. But it didn’t come to my dreams. Sorry, sorry.

Your old friend Jean-Luc Godard didn’t show up when he received his Honorary Academy Award, but you did.
VARDA It was nice, I think. I guess we get awards because we have worked for the cinema, but we didn’t make money so we get honorary  ones. We are in the margin, and proud to be there.

The honorary award makes clear that I’m not in the business game. But I am in the cinema game. I’ve been always interested in the language of cinema, in the way you can use the cinema to push the people to dream and think and open sometimes a window that they forgot to open. I love the idea that we slightly change their mentality, at least related to images and sound. We cannot change the life, but we can bring the fresh air sometimes.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Donald Sutherland, Charles Burnett Lead Honorary 2017 Governors Awards

'City of Ghosts,' 'Strong Island' Lead Cinema Eye Honors Nominations

'Human Flow' Review: Ai Weiwei Turns a Compassionate Eye to Refugee Crisis

Agnès Varda Has Mixed Feelings About Her Honorary Oscar, But Loves Creating Art on the Margins

The morning after the Governors’ Awards, the French Consul hosted a brunch for the iconic 89-year-old director, where she charmed everyone.

The morning after receiving her honorary Oscar at the Governors’ Ball, visions of dancing with Angelina Jolie still danced in Agnès Varda’s head. “Can you believe they were surrounding me, protecting me?” she said, holding court on the brick Beverly Hills patio at the French Consul’s residence in Beverly Hills, wreathed by French journalists. Among those who came to see her receive the award were National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image president Frédérique Bredin, Unifrance president Serge Toubiana, and Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux.

“I’m totally honored, I’m totally pleased, I’m touched to tears that they did such a long trip to be with me,” said Varda, grasping an actual pair of rose-colored glasses. She sat poolside at a circular table, beside a teapot, echoing Faye Dunaway’s famous morning-after Oscar photograph 40 years prior. However, instead of a satin robe and stilettos, the 89-year-old photographer, artist, feminist, and French New Wave pioneer wore a coordinating striped blazer and floral top with khakis and silver lace-up shoes.

Agnes Varda, Angelina Jolie. French director Agnes Varda, left, reacts to receiving an honorary Oscar as presenter Angelina Jolie looks on at the 2017 Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom, in Los Angeles2017 Governors Awards - Show, Los Angeles, USA - 11 Nov 2017

Varda accepts her honorary Oscar as Angelina Jolie looks on at this weekend’s Governors Awards.

Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The Consul General of France in Los Angeles, Christophe Lemoine held a savory brunch in her honor, to be followed by a green, five-tiered Laduree cake topped with another gold statuette. When it was time for dessert, Academy president John Bailey, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures director Kerry Brougher, the aforementioned French executives, and a few-dozen well-wishers watched Varda take a bite from the chocolate Oscar, then pass it to her granddaughter, Alice, and other children in attendance.

She seemed equally young-at-heart while listing of the menagerie of trophies she’s won since writing her first film, “La Pointe Courte,” when she was 25: “I received many animals. I had a Golden Lion [from the Venice Film Festival, for “Vagabond”], I had a Silver Bear [from the Berlin International Film Festival, for “Happiness”].”

She also earned a Silver Condor from the Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards, for “The Beaches of Agnès;” and a Leopard of Honor from the Locarno International Film Festival; Mimi (the cat featured in her 2017 documentary “Faces Places”), even won a Palme de Whiskers. Returning to the creature theme, she later said, “Art is something which if you don’t investigate new ways of understanding surprise, emotion, then you don’t do [anything], then you repeat yourself, like a parrot.”

Consul General Christophe Lemoine, Varda, Academy president John John Bailey, and CNC president Frédérique Bredin.

Courtesy of the Consulate General of France

Read More: Cannes Review: If ‘Faces Places’ Is Agnès Varda’s Last Film, It’s a Profoundly Moving and Absolutely Essential Farewell

As for the non-animal Oscar, her feelings are mixed. “The award I got last night” — alongside directors Charles Burnett and Alejandro González Iñárritu, cinematographer Owen Roizman, and actor Donald Sutherland — “has nothing to do with money, and nothing to do with competition… I didn’t take it from somebody else,” which made her feel “very good.”

However, she’s “not so excited” to be presented with lifetime achievement awards, which “make me think [that the industry is saying], ‘Okay, stop now. Get this and go home.'” It’s “better” when an award’s given for “one specific work,” as has happened all year long with “Faces Places,” which took prizes from the Cannes and Toronto film festivals, among others, and is now favored to win a nomination for best foreign film.

Before the crowd, Consul General Lemoine even told Varda,”We wish you all the best for this award season, because there is something else maybe coming up.” Lemoine then directed guests inside the home, where a black box with a peephole enclosed a diorama — by Varda’s daughter-in-law, artist Joséphine Wister Faure — depicting one of its scenes: Varda naps on a train with her 34-year-old travel companion and co-director, the photographer and artist JR.

In the film, they mostly cross their home country in a camera-shaped truck, finding unsung local heroes to whom they pay homage with very large, very public portraits pasted onto homes, plus a barn, factory and even a German bunker on the beach.

“I went with her in 10 villages in France, and people adore her; and then I go with her here in Hollywood, and people adore her,” J.R. told IndieWire. “Often she tells me, ‘I don’t know if those people know my work, I don’t know if I got forgotten,’ and last night was to remind her that her work is so powerful that it goes beyond borders, beyond ages, beyond centuries.” Their unlikely friendship was not just for the screen: “We see each other almost every day,” JR confirmed. “We’ll keep creating together,” although “I don’t think we’ll do another film, for sure.”

Courtesy of the Consulate General of France

Varda’s “Faces Places” co-director, JR, with her cake at the post-Governors Awards brunch.

Read More: Agnes Varda Tells Us Why ‘Faces Places’ Could Be Her Last Film

Varda agreed. “Every Wednesday in France, you have 20 films coming out,” she told reporters. “We had to do promotion, we had to go to different cities, speak to audiences. And this is difficult, it’s painful, it tires me a lot… I’m almost 90, I can slow down.”

She prefers work where the audience “come[s] if they wish; if they don’t come, they don’t come.” While she “no longer want[s] to be in the distribution world,” she remains interested in other methods of broadcasting to an audience, like television, DVDs, VOD, and special screenings.

Like “many film directors and artists,” she said she and JR find themselves “in the margin. We know we are in the margin…I feel at ease in the margin. I don’t suffer being there, I feel good.”

Varda flanked by her children, actor Mathieu Demy and “Faces Places” producer Rosalie Varda.

Courtesy of the Consulate General of France

Varda also insisted that she feels no nostalgia. “You cannot change your life. I have it like a backpack with memories. Sometimes it’s heavy, sometimes it’s funny, but I have it,” adding, “I cannot erase the life I had with Jaques Demy,” her director-screenwriter husband of 38 years, who died in 1990. She has occupied the same Paris address since 1951.

“I’m still alive, sort of,” which sounds self-deprecating, but isn’t. “I’m impressed that I’m still alive, being so old and able to enjoy meeting people, enjoy working… I think I’m lucky because I didn’t lose the curiosity, the desire, the energy, and the need to express myself.”

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The Academy Governors Awards: Angelina Jolie and Agnes Varda Danced as Hollywood Celebrated Oscars

As Hollywood reels from the fallout from sexual harassment scandals, the Governors Awards took the high road amid the usual throng of Oscar contenders.

“Shitty is shitty,” new Academy governor Whoopi Goldberg told me of the vote to expel a member for the second time in AMPAS’ 90-year history. As everyone in Hollywood struggles to keep their head straight amid a flood of sexual harassment scandals, this year’s crop of Oscar contenders braved Hollywood and Highland traffic snarls to charm a room full of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) members, including the 54 Governors who voted for this year’s five Honorary Oscars, presented at the 9th (untelevised) Governors Awards.

Behind the scenes, Oscar campaigners had pushed their clients as presenters. Clearly, it was a no-brainer to put Jennifer Lawrence (“mother!”) on stage to present to her “Hunger Games” costar Donald Sutherland (“M.A.S.H.,” “Klute,” “Don’t Look Now”), who never scored one Oscar nomination. “It’s odd that he never won an Oscar,” said Lawrence, thanking him for his generosity and guidance and a list of 50 books to read.

Speaking sans teleprompter, the 82-year-old Canadian recounted the phone call from “Ordinary People” cinematographer Bailey, who informed him that he was the new president of the Academy. “Congratulations,” said Sutherland. “No, I’m calling to congratulate you,” replied Bailey. “The door has opened and it feels like a fresh breath of air has come in,” said Sutherland, who thanked his wife of 45 years Francine Racette and his children, including CAA agent Roeg and TV star Kiefer, who were visibly moved by their father, who has never stopped working and gives a moving performance as a man with dementia  in “The Leisure Seekers” (Sony Pictures Classics) opposite Helen Mirren.

Described by Agnes Varda as her “feminist guardian angels,” Jessica Chastain (“Molly’s Game”) and Angelina Jolie (“First They Killed My Father”) both celebrated the 89-year-old French New Wave pioneer, who was surrounded by such top brass of French cinema as Cannes director Thierry Fremaux, as well as her children with the late Jacques Demy and grandchildren. From the floor Varda made priceless silent video reactions to tributes to such films as “Cleo from 5 to 7” and “The Gleaners and I” before accepting her award onstage.

Varda started making films at age 25 and 63 years later is still going strong, with lauded documentary “Faces Places” in the Oscar race. “It makes me feel good,” she said, clutching her gold statue. “My films never made money but if not money I got many awards. ” After a sleepless night tossing in her bed she decided, she said, not to go in the direction of weight, but of lightness. At which point Jolie grabbed the 89-year-old’s hand for an impromptu dance.

More of a stretch was “The Florida Project” director Sean Baker’s tribute to African-American groundbreaker Charles Burnett (“Killer of Sheep” and “To Sleep with Anger”), followed by Tessa Thompson (“Thor Ragnarok”) and Chadwick Boseman (“Marshall”) and passionate presenter Ava DuVernay, who said: “Visibility remains highly political. Charles Burnett has made the black community visible. You have been a giant to us.” Burnett thanked his teachers at UCLA for helping to find his niche “making films as a tool for social change.”

Charles Burnett

Academy governor Steven Spielberg, who was sitting with his “The Post” producer Amy Pascal and star Tom Hanks, started out the evening with remarks that pushed the Motion Picture Academy’s role as a group of accomplished artists who seek to lead and inspire. “We aspire to be bigger and greater,” he said. To that end they gave Alejandro González Iñárritu a special Oscar for his and three-time Oscar-winner Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki’s extraordinary VR museum installation “Carne Y Arena,” which is still playing at the Los Angeles County Museum. “The biggest enemy of ideology is reality,” he said.

Also taking the high road was Academy president and cinematographer John Bailey, who did not make any mention of the recent sexual harassment allegations that pushed the Academy to convene a special meeting and vote out alleged serial sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. Sexual harassment fallout was the main topic of discussion off-stage, however, along with the seismic changes in the industry, from the potential merger of Disney and Fox to the prospect of MGM and Annapurna releasing Bond 25. How the Academy will establish codes of conduct is next on the board’s agenda, which could involve stripping miscreant members of their voting rights.

Riseborough, Blige, Rees and Stone

Women were front and center at the event as Gal Gadot (who reportedly won’t work with accused harasser Brett Ratner on a “Wonder Woman” sequel) and her director Patty Jenkins, Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf and Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”), “Battle of the Sexes” stars Emma Stone and Andrea Riseborough, Dee Rees, Cary Mulligan and Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”) and writer-director Angelina Jolie and co-writer Loung Ung (“First They Killed My Father”), “The Shape of Water” star Sally Hawkins, Jessica Chastain and Allison Janney (“Molly’s Game”), and producers Amy Pascal (“The Post,” “Molly’s Game”) and Kathleen Kennedy (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”)  made the rounds.

Around the room, would-be Oscar contenders were getting a kick out of meeting and greeting. Rob Pattinson (“Good Time”) popped up to greet Claes Bang (“The Square”), delighted that he had seen and liked his film; Danish star Bang is fielding Hollywood offers, while his own industry is going through its own round of sexual harassment allegations.

Also breaking out this year is Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”), who admitted that he had met Steven Spielberg before — by reading for him. “Mudbound” star Jason Clarke talked Democratic politics as passionately as Ted Kennedy would have (he plays him in Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Toronto pickup “Chappaquiddick,” which has been pushed back to 2018).  Christopher Nolan held court at the “Dunkirk” table, while the “Darkest Hour” screenwriter Anthony McCarten compared notes with “The Big Sick” writer-star Kumail Nanjiani. British “Star Wars” and “Detroit” star John Boyega held forth at the Annapurna Pictures table with his “Detroit” onscreen nemesis Will Poulter, writer Mark Boal and president Marc Weinstock.

Robert Pattinson and Claes Bang

Timothée Chalamet

The Academy’s Bailey helped to push five-time Oscar nominee Owen Roizman (“The French Connection,” “Network,” “Wyatt Earp” and “The Exorcist”) to finally land an honorary Oscar. Roizman gave into tears at the plaudits from his peers Caleb Deschanel and Janusz Kaminski as well as presenter Dustin Hoffman, who praised the pioneer in gritty, soft-lit cinematic realism (and in-camera special effects) for making his makeup look good in “Tootsie” and earned several rounds of supportive applause from the crowd, despite his own recent harassment allegations. One of the calibrations the Academy is trying to make — along with everyone else — is how to cope with a spectrum of behavior without stripping masters of their craft of their laudable accomplishment. It’s a work in progress.

Oscars’ Governors Awards Party in the Shadow of Hollywood’s Dark Times

The Academy’s 9th annual Governors Awards, which took place on Saturday night at the Ray Dolby Ballroom, was a Hollywood event that managed not to be overshadowed by Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and the other entertainment figures whose transgressions have dominated the news lately.

Instead, the focus was largely on two hours of warm and sometimes touching tributes to directors Agnes Varda and Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman, actor Donald Sutherland and Alejandro G. Inarritu’s VR installation “Carne y Arena,” with a side helping of Oscar campaigning from a room full of contenders.

In a way, this year’s ceremony served as a moment of truth of sorts for 2017’s awards season. The event always does double duty as a celebration of career accomplishments and a supercharged campaign stop, with tables full of contenders from all the hot new movies mingling with Oscar voters and press during a crucial period early in the season.

Also Read: Seth MacFarlane Says His Harvey Weinstein Oscars Jab Came From ‘a Place of Loathing and Anger’

But with new names of transgressors and new lists of disgraceful behavior surfacing almost every day, can we feel good about the endless round of parties and kudos-fests that bestow shiny trophies on the work of an industry whose culture allowed predators to flourish for years?

If the culture of Hollywood is broken, is it unseemly to be celebrating its products?

“Yes,” said one top actress in attendance succinctly. “Unless we’re celebrating work that points the way to the future.”

But the Governors Awards focuses on the past, which meant that most people in the room wanted to pay tribute to Varda, Roizman, Burnett, Sutherland and Inarritu. And it’s hard to look askance at a night that saluted one of the greatest international female directors in cinema; the cinematographer of “The French Connection” and “Network”; a pioneer in African-American filmmaking; an actor whose career includes “M*A*S*H” and “Don’t Look Back”; and a VR work that asks viewers to walk in the footsteps of immigrants trying to cross the desert into America.

Also Read: Alejandro Inarritu’s VR Experience ‘Carne y Arena’ Shakes Up Cannes Viewers – If They Can See It

Sure, talk during the lengthy cocktail hour often drifted to Weinstein, long a fixture at these events; to Spacey, who most likely would have been in attendance on behalf of “All the Money in the World” had his scandal not caused Ridley Scott to hastily cut his performance from the film; and to the looming shadow of additional names to come.

A person with ties to the currently-shooting Freddie Mercury biopic worried about whether audiences could shun that film because its director, Bryan Singer, has been accused of sexual misconduct; on the other side of the room, a past Oscar winner was buttonholing people and asking, “Who’s going to be next? What have you heard?”

But that was largely undercurrent, a tacit acknowledgment that this is an odd awards season. It wasn’t a real distraction from the main business of saluting the honorees, or the secondary business of seeing and being seen.

So as guests arrived on the top floor of the Hollywood & Highland center, mutual admiration societies sprung up everywhere. Steven Spielberg huddled with Laurie Metcalf, “Blade Runner” director Denis Villeneuve chased down “Lady Bird” actress Saoirse Ronan, Guillermo del Toro chatted with Andy Serkis and everybody grinned as the 7-year-old star of “The Florida Project,” Brooklynn Prince, bounced up the steps in a bright red party dress.

“I think she was born for this,” said Prince’s director, Sean Baker.

Also Read: ‘The Florida Project’ Review: Neorealist Indie Strikingly Captures the Other Orlando

On the big screens inside the ballroom, the first words to appear were a statement of purpose: “This is not the Oscars. No nominees, no rules, no envelopes.”

First-term Academy president John Bailey opened not by talking about the code of conduct that the AMPAS board has been asked to create, or by promising more diversity the way his predecessor, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, has done at the last two Governors Awards, but by simply praising the winners – whose films, he said, “have set a high bar for us to emulate.”

After a schmooze-filled dinner, Steven Spielberg opened the proceedings, and then other Academy governors kicked off each of the individual presentations: Daryn Okada for fellow cinematographer Roizman, Kimberley Peirce and Kate Amend for Varda, Gregory Nava for Inarritu, Reginald Hudlin for Burnett and Whoopi Goldberg for Sutherland.

Other presenters included Dustin Hoffman for Roizman, Jessica Chastain and Angelina Jolie for Varda, Sean Baker and Ava DuVernay for Burnett and Colin Farrell and Jennifer Lawrence for Sutherland.

Also Read: ‘The Leisure Seeker’ Toronto Review: Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland Highlight Touching Road Movie

Roizman was the most emotional winner and Sutherland the most eloquent, with Burnett wielding the best punchline: After talking about his junior high teacher, Mr. Baker, who in front of class told him he’d never amount to anything, he added, “I don’t know if that teacher is still around. But if he is, I hope he reads the trades.”

But the award to Varda, a pioneer in the French New Wave whose career contains more than 60 years of adventurous narrative features and documentaries, was in many ways the high point of the evening. Peirce kicked off the presentation with a lengthy description of how influential Varda’s unapologetic female characters were, interweaving a story about her own battles with the MPAA ratings board over a female orgasm depicted in Peirce’s “Boys Don’t Cry.”

Varda looked a little baffled by the comparison, but Peirce brought the house down – as did Documentary Branch governor Kate Amend who began her own remarks by noting, “Well, sadly, we don’t have a lot of orgasms in documentaries.”

Chastain then lauded Varda for her credo that “rebelliousness is part of being a woman,” and Jolie added, “To be around Agnes is to feel more oxygen come into the room.”

Also Read: ‘Faces Places’ Review: Agnès Varda Takes a Joyful Artist’s Journey Into Rural France

The 89-year-old filmmaker tried to brush off the praise, but her eyes welled up and it was clear she was touched. Her own speech was playful and impish, beginning by noting that all her presenters were female – “Are there no men in the room who love me?” – and ending in a little onstage dance with Jolie.

Inarritu’s speech, though, was the most passionate. He received a rare special Oscar for “Carne y Arena,” a VR installation that ran at the Cannes Film Festival and is now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and one that immerses an audience – one viewer at a time – in the world of immigrants trying to come from Mexico to the United States.

Before receiving the award, Inarritu told TheWrap that he made the film with absolutely no thought of “this awards stuff.” But director and Academy governor Michael Mann pushed for the special award, saying that “Carne y Arena” “is to virtual reality what Eisenstein’s ‘Battleship Potemkin’ was to film.”

Also Read: ‘Revenant’ Director Alejandro Inarritu Blasts Donald Trump After Winning DGA Award

“There is no better prize in life than the one you win without competing,” Inarritu said when he took the stage. After a round of thank-yous, his speech turned into a charged denunciation of the ideologies and words that have been used to demonize and stereotype people.

“Only ideologies have f—ed up the world,” he said. ” … When the word ‘rapist’ or ‘illegal alien’ is fired, the reality of a certain human life or community is reduced to an idea, and whoever believes or possesses and fires that idea ends up impoverishing, misleading and degrading their perception of reality.”

He concluded, “I dedicate and receive this beautiful recognition on behalf of all the immigrants from Mexico, Central America, Asia, Africa and all corners of the world whose reality has been ignored and held hostage by ideologies and definitions, denying them the possibility of being understood and loved.”

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The Academy’s 9th annual Governors Awards, which took place on Saturday night at the Ray Dolby Ballroom, was a Hollywood event that managed not to be overshadowed by Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and the other entertainment figures whose transgressions have dominated the news lately.

Instead, the focus was largely on two hours of warm and sometimes touching tributes to directors Agnes Varda and Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman, actor Donald Sutherland and Alejandro G. Inarritu’s VR installation “Carne y Arena,” with a side helping of Oscar campaigning from a room full of contenders.

In a way, this year’s ceremony served as a moment of truth of sorts for 2017’s awards season. The event always does double duty as a celebration of career accomplishments and a supercharged campaign stop, with tables full of contenders from all the hot new movies mingling with Oscar voters and press during a crucial period early in the season.

But with new names of transgressors and new lists of disgraceful behavior surfacing almost every day, can we feel good about the endless round of parties and kudos-fests that bestow shiny trophies on the work of an industry whose culture allowed predators to flourish for years?

If the culture of Hollywood is broken, is it unseemly to be celebrating its products?

“Yes,” said one top actress in attendance succinctly. “Unless we’re celebrating work that points the way to the future.”

But the Governors Awards focuses on the past, which meant that most people in the room wanted to pay tribute to Varda, Roizman, Burnett, Sutherland and Inarritu. And it’s hard to look askance at a night that saluted one of the greatest international female directors in cinema; the cinematographer of “The French Connection” and “Network”; a pioneer in African-American filmmaking; an actor whose career includes “M*A*S*H” and “Don’t Look Back”; and a VR work that asks viewers to walk in the footsteps of immigrants trying to cross the desert into America.

Sure, talk during the lengthy cocktail hour often drifted to Weinstein, long a fixture at these events; to Spacey, who most likely would have been in attendance on behalf of “All the Money in the World” had his scandal not caused Ridley Scott to hastily cut his performance from the film; and to the looming shadow of additional names to come.

A person with ties to the currently-shooting Freddie Mercury biopic worried about whether audiences could shun that film because its director, Bryan Singer, has been accused of sexual misconduct; on the other side of the room, a past Oscar winner was buttonholing people and asking, “Who’s going to be next? What have you heard?”

But that was largely undercurrent, a tacit acknowledgment that this is an odd awards season. It wasn’t a real distraction from the main business of saluting the honorees, or the secondary business of seeing and being seen.

So as guests arrived on the top floor of the Hollywood & Highland center, mutual admiration societies sprung up everywhere. Steven Spielberg huddled with Laurie Metcalf, “Blade Runner” director Denis Villeneuve chased down “Lady Bird” actress Saoirse Ronan, Guillermo del Toro chatted with Andy Serkis and everybody grinned as the 7-year-old star of “The Florida Project,” Brooklynn Prince, bounced up the steps in a bright red party dress.

“I think she was born for this,” said Prince’s director, Sean Baker.

On the big screens inside the ballroom, the first words to appear were a statement of purpose: “This is not the Oscars. No nominees, no rules, no envelopes.”

First-term Academy president John Bailey opened not by talking about the code of conduct that the AMPAS board has been asked to create, or by promising more diversity the way his predecessor, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, has done at the last two Governors Awards, but by simply praising the winners – whose films, he said, “have set a high bar for us to emulate.”

After a schmooze-filled dinner, Steven Spielberg opened the proceedings, and then other Academy governors kicked off each of the individual presentations: Daryn Okada for fellow cinematographer Roizman, Kimberley Peirce and Kate Amend for Varda, Gregory Nava for Inarritu, Reginald Hudlin for Burnett and Whoopi Goldberg for Sutherland.

Other presenters included Dustin Hoffman for Roizman, Jessica Chastain and Angelina Jolie for Varda, Sean Baker and Ava DuVernay for Burnett and Colin Farrell and Jennifer Lawrence for Sutherland.

Roizman was the most emotional winner and Sutherland the most eloquent, with Burnett wielding the best punchline: After talking about his junior high teacher, Mr. Baker, who in front of class told him he’d never amount to anything, he added, “I don’t know if that teacher is still around. But if he is, I hope he reads the trades.”

But the award to Varda, a pioneer in the French New Wave whose career contains more than 60 years of adventurous narrative features and documentaries, was in many ways the high point of the evening. Peirce kicked off the presentation with a lengthy description of how influential Varda’s unapologetic female characters were, interweaving a story about her own battles with the MPAA ratings board over a female orgasm depicted in Peirce’s “Boys Don’t Cry.”

Varda looked a little baffled by the comparison, but Peirce brought the house down – as did Documentary Branch governor Kate Amend who began her own remarks by noting, “Well, sadly, we don’t have a lot of orgasms in documentaries.”

Chastain then lauded Varda for her credo that “rebelliousness is part of being a woman,” and Jolie added, “To be around Agnes is to feel more oxygen come into the room.”

The 89-year-old filmmaker tried to brush off the praise, but her eyes welled up and it was clear she was touched. Her own speech was playful and impish, beginning by noting that all her presenters were female – “Are there no men in the room who love me?” – and ending in a little onstage dance with Jolie.

Inarritu’s speech, though, was the most passionate. He received a rare special Oscar for “Carne y Arena,” a VR installation that ran at the Cannes Film Festival and is now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and one that immerses an audience – one viewer at a time – in the world of immigrants trying to come from Mexico to the United States.

Before receiving the award, Inarritu told TheWrap that he made the film with absolutely no thought of “this awards stuff.” But director and Academy governor Michael Mann pushed for the special award, saying that “Carne y Arena” “is to virtual reality what Eisenstein’s ‘Battleship Potemkin’ was to film.”

“There is no better prize in life than the one you win without competing,” Inarritu said when he took the stage. After a round of thank-yous, his speech turned into a charged denunciation of the ideologies and words that have been used to demonize and stereotype people.

“Only ideologies have f—ed up the world,” he said. ” … When the word ‘rapist’ or ‘illegal alien’ is fired, the reality of a certain human life or community is reduced to an idea, and whoever believes or possesses and fires that idea ends up impoverishing, misleading and degrading their perception of reality.”

He concluded, “I dedicate and receive this beautiful recognition on behalf of all the immigrants from Mexico, Central America, Asia, Africa and all corners of the world whose reality has been ignored and held hostage by ideologies and definitions, denying them the possibility of being understood and loved.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Pixar's 'Coco,' 2 Lego Movies Top List of 26 Oscars Animation Contenders

Petition Launched to Boot Casey Affleck From Next Year's Oscars Over Past Harassment Accusations

170 Films Enter Oscars Documentary Category, Setting New Record

Agnès Varda on Radical Filmmaking: ‘I Never Thought I Didn’t Have The Right’

“I don’t feel like filming people that have power. I’m much more interested in the rebels, the people who fight for their own life,” says Agnès Varda, the French new wave legend, who will become the first female director to receive an honorary Academy Award on Nov. 11. From her 1955 film debut, “La Pointe […]

“I don’t feel like filming people that have power. I’m much more interested in the rebels, the people who fight for their own life,” says Agnès Varda, the French new wave legend, who will become the first female director to receive an honorary Academy Award on Nov. 11. From her 1955 film debut, “La Pointe […]