Four early-mid-career Varda shorts—two exploring varieties of love and two from her late-60s trip to California—craft unforgettable portraits of very different people. This program includes Les Fiances du Pont Macdonald, Elsa La Rose, Uncle Yanco, and Black Panthers:
The Fiancés of the Bridge Mac Donald (Les Fiancés du Pont Mac Donald), 1961, 5 mins., France — A silent short featured in her Cléo from 5 to 7, this early-cinema-inspired short stars Anna Karina and Jean-Luc Godard as a couple saying goodbye.
Elsa La Rose, 1966, 20 mins., France — An examination of the 40-year marriage of surrealist Louis Aragon and novelist Elsa Triolet. Varda expands beyond the typical to invoke memory, history, and the relationship between artists in this remarkable film.
Uncle Yanco, 1967, 18 mins., US/France — In her effervescent first California film, Agnès Varda delves into her own family history, tracking down a Greek emigrant relative she’s never met, and discovering an artist and kindred soul leading a bohemian life in Sausalito. (Janus Films)
Black Panthers, 1968, 31 mins., US/France — Oakland, California, 1968: Varda visits a protest calling for the release of incarcerated Black Panthers leader Huey Newton—and she emerges with a characteristically empathetic and illuminating portrait.