6 July 2001 | sleepsev
Varda cast a spell on the audience
The film is about lives of shopkeepers living on the same street. They were asked the same questions-When did they move here? How did each of them meet their spouse? What is their dream? The film also shows their daily lives-opening the shop, attending to customers, doing their jobs.
The person who impresses me the most in this film is the lady of the perfume shop, whose name I'm not sure if it's Marcele or not. She is really outstanding. She talks the least in this film. She smiles the least. But the expression on her face and her eyes are undescribable. By just being herself, she is mysterious. There's something about her which makes this film extraordinary. She seems to be the living proof of some facts of life. She is the opposite of the word `superficial.' And Varda seemed to realize that while filming. Varda let the camera focus on her many times. And everytime she's in the frame, there's something magical in the air. Moreover, that lady also provides one of the funniest scenes in this movie. But that scene is not only very funny, it also reflects an ironic truth of some people's lives. I don't know whether to laugh or cry for this scene. And I have to ask myself if my life is somehow similar to her.
The last part of the film touches me deeply and strongly. It's the part about their dreams. And the last sentence which Varda said plus the last image of the film somehow move me to tears, though it's not something sad at all. On the surface, the last scene is very ordinary. This scene would have no effect if it stands alone. But when it was put at the end of the film, this scene is emotionally and spiritually extraordinary.
Another interesting thing about this film is that it totally changes my feelings towards a photo. Before I saw this film, I'd seen its promotional photo-the picture of the bakery couples-and I felt nothing. It was just a photo of strangers. But after seeing the film, I look at the same photo again, and I am overwhelmed by some feelings. After you've learned about their lives and their dreams, after you have seen their smiles and observed their daily lives, they are not strangers any more. Looking at the same photo, I have the same feeling as I would have by opening my family albums and seeing photos of someone in my old neighborhood. The photo reminds me of their lives, and makes me wonder how they are now. This film really makes me wonder how lives on that street are now.
Last, but not least, I also like the technique of intercutting scenes of daily lives with scenes on the magician's stage. Varda seems to have a lot of fun connecting these scenes together by some amusing links-such as when both scenes refer to `losing head.' This clever juxtaposition of scenes create a lot of laughter among the audience. But I think the most important effect of this technique is that it makes the audience realize that our daily lives-our normal boring every day lives-indeed have some magic in it. This film has proved very well that ordinary people have so many interesting things to tell, and it also helps some of us to realize how magical life is.