Wednesday, March 26, 2008

4 BY AGNES VARDA reviewed

My "Nozone" review of Criterion's box set 4 BY AGNES VARDA -- containing her films LE POINTE COURTE, CLEO FROM 5 TO 7, LE BONHEUR (HAPPINESS) and VAGABOND -- appears in the current April 2008 issue of SIGHT & SOUND, on newsstands now. As usual, my review also appears on the BFI's S&S website and can be read here.

Sidebar to Bava fans: CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 (1962) is shot in real time, like Bava's movie RABID DOGS (1975, released 1998). In my chapter on the latter film in MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK, I explained how Bava managed to shoot inside a moving car on a public highway without permits by using different fragmented vehicles mounted on the back of a flatbed truck. Unfortunately, no production stills I have ever found showed how this was done. But, happily, the supplementary materials on CLEO in the Varda set show how a sequence inside a moving cab was shot -- exactly the same way! It's hard to tell if Bava was familiar with the film and heard through the grapevine how it solved such technical problems, or if he solved them the same way intuitively, but it's fascinating that two films shot in real time encountered the same problem and solved it identically.

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