Wellington Scoop

Film festival diary: Agnes Varda at 88


by Lindsay Shelton
“I’m still fighting. I don’t know how much longer, but I’m still fighting a struggle, which is to make cinema alive and not just make another film.”

The words of 88-year-old French director Agnes Varda, whose undeniable success in achieving her aim is shown in her new film “Faces Places” at the film festival tonight.

Amy Taubin writing in Film Comment describes why you should see the film: “In her magnificent, groundbreaking, nearly 60-year career, this is one of her most profoundly personal and exuberantly populist works. A tour de France that is both a romp and a meditation on photography, cinema, and mortality … it is at once poetry and the naked truth, shape-shifting before one’s eyes, and promising ever more pleasure with each viewing.”

In the same week that the film festival is showing Agnes Varda’s film, we learnt of the death (at 88) of Jeanne Moreau, an equally great name in the history of French cinema.

And on Monday there’s one more chance to see a French masterpiece from 50 years ago – Luis Bunuel’s Belle De Jour, with Catherine Deneuve. Apparently ageless, she’s also in the festival in her latest film, made fifty years later.

Age is being celebrated in other sections of the film festival programme too.

No Ordinary Sheila cheerfully tells the story of the inspiring and unconventional life of Owhiro Bay’s 90-year-old Sheila Natusch.

In Kobi, the life and career of 80-year-old goldsmith Kobi Bosshardt is surveyed in a film by his daughter. Festival director Bill Gosden says it’s one of the year’s loveliest films.

And from sixty years ago, the campaigning of Jane Jacobs shows itself to be just as relevant today as it was in the 1950s when she fought the roadbuilders, and won.

More chances to see Agnes Varda’s newest film:
Penthouse, Wednesday, 11.30am
Embassy, Thursday, midday
Roxy, Friday, 1pm
Penthouse, Saturday, 6.15pm


  1. Francis Cooke, 7. August 2017, 9:58

    Bill Frisell: A Portrait and Faces Places ended up being a really lovely accidental film festival double-bill. [via twitter]

  2. NZIFF, 14. August 2017, 12:21

    We’re saddened to hear that Sheila Natusch has died, aged 91. Our hearts are warmed knowing that Sheila was able to view the film about her life, No Ordinary Sheila, with a packed auditorium in the 100 year old Paramount cinema in Wellington.
    Our thoughts are with Hugh Macdonald, Sheila’s cousin and director of No Ordinary Sheila, Christine Dann the producer, and Sheila’s family and friends.
    Hugh’s lovingly-made film tells the story of her life; a radiant, defiant and unconventional life story. What a lady. Rest in peace dear Sheila.