Sunday, November 05, 2023

Christmas Carole

Varda Recovered, Depardieu Discovered

Critical, celebratory — the perfect Christmas movie, and only five minutes long.

Varda's 1966 Christmas Carole marks another 2021+ Ciné-Tamaris restoration that has gone up in all its restored beauty on the Cinémathèque's Henri site. You can watch it here. The frames above from the introductory titles provide the general gist: Rosalie Varda oversaw the project, as she did with the contemporaneous Pier Paolo Pasolini - Agnès Varda - New York - 1967

Via which Christmas Carole shares the city-street-set peregrinations of the aforementioned film, and at least through la rose-colored lenses observes a stark contrast between the haywire confusion of Times Square in PPPAVNY67 and Paris of the same era. 

There's the girl Carole (Hélène Viard) and her two male friends, played by Francis Merle and, in the earliest role I've seen him, Gérard Depardieu. Will she sleep with this other guy Paul outside the duo, or should she just throw some therapy in the mix and bed one or both of the Merle-Depardieu pair? Made as a producer test (or maybe as we'd say today, as a 'proof-of-concept') Christmas Carole recalls the earliest mid- to late-1950s New Wave shorts, say Godard's Charlotte et son Jules or Truffaut's Les mistons (or even Godard's third feature, Une femme est une femme) and their similar sexual conundrums. Consumerism became time for forgiveness — "You need money to buy gifts. Give me a franc." —"The folly of money. I buy, I give. He buys, he gives. Same old song: money, money, money." 

As Depardieu says, in a questionably different context, "We can call it 'making friendship'."


Other writing on Agnès Varda at Cinemasparagus:

La Pointe-Courte [1955]

Ô saisons ô châteaux [O Seasons, O Châteaux, 1957]

L'Opéra-Mouffe, carnet de notes filmées rue Mouffetard par une femme enceinte en 1958 [The Opéra-Mouffe: Diary Filmed on the rue Mouffetard in Paris by a Pregnant Woman in 1958, 1958]

Du côté de la Côte [Around the Côte, 1958]

Les fiancés du pont Mac Donald, ou (Méfiez-vous des lunettes noires) [The Fiancés of the Pont Mac Donald, or: (Beware of Dark Glasses), 1961]

Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cléo from 5 to 7, 1962]

Le bonheur [Happiness, 1964]

Elsa la Rose [Elsa the Rose, 1966]

Les créatures [The Creatures, 1966]

Christmas Carole [1966, posthumous release 2023]

Pier Paolo Pasolini - Agnès Varda - New York - 1967 [1967, posthumous release 2023]

Uncle Yanco [1967]

Black Panthers [1968]

Lions Love... and Lies / Lions Love [1969]

Nausicaa [1970]

Réponse de femmes à une question produite par Antenne 2 pour le magazine 'F. comme Femme' [Women's Response to a Question Put Forth by Antenne 2 for the Magazine-Show 'F. comme Femme', 1975]

Daguerréotypes [1976]

Plaisir d'amour en Iran [Giddiness of Love in Iran] [1976]

L'une chante l'autre pas [The One Sings the Other Doesn't] [1977]

Mur murs [1980]

Documenteur: An Emotion Picture [1981]


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