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The Agnes Varda Collection Vol. 2

L'Une Chante, L'Autre Pas (1977)                 Vagabond (1985)

Jacquot De Nantes (1991)                  The Beaches of Agnes (2008)

 

Agnes Varda used the skills she honed early in her career as a photographer to create some of the most nuanced, thought-provoking films of the past fifty years. Second volume of classics from Agnes Varda - the ancestor of the French new wave. Features The Beaches of Agnes (2008) Jacquot De Nantes (1991) Vagabond (1985) L'Une Chante, L'Autre Pas (1977).

 

 

L'UNE CHANTE, L'AUTRE PAS (1977)
- One sings, the other doesn't... Agnès Varda focuses on the intertwined lives of two women brought together during the struggle of the Women’s Movement in 1970’s France. A subject that remains all too familiar wih Varda, who was personally involved in feminist politics.

VAGABOND (1985)
- Sandrine Bonnaire won a Best Actress César for her portrayal as Mona - a young and defiant drifter in this tragic story. Using a largely non-professional cast Varda recollects Mona’s story through flashbacks of those who encountered her, producing a splintered portrait of an enigmatic woman.

JACQUOT DE NANTES (1991)
- It’s the story of a child and his obsession of pursuing his dream to become a filmmaker. How he buys his first camera, shoots his first amateur film, which marks the beginning of one of the most prestigious careers of any French director, Jacques Demy. The story is told with emotion by Agnès Varda, who shared his life for years. 

THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS (2008)
- Weaving photography, archive footage, scenes from her own films and present-day sequences, the legendary French auteur Agnès Varda takes us on a memorable voyage through her life, during which she confronts the joys of creation and artistic success and the pain of personal loss and ageing.

 

Comments

Note: At the time of writing this, all four films are only available in the UK housed in this set.

Unlike volume 1, only one of the films in this set overlaps with Criterion's Agnes Varda boxset. However one other film in the set, "The Beaches of Agnes", has a region 1 locked release reviewed here (). The other two films have no region 1 release nor any release anywhere else in the world that I know of. Although the region 1 discs (especially the Criterion) were quite good, the two retreads in this set stack up nicely against their North American counterparts. Specific differences in image and audio will be discussed below. However, before moving on, it is worth noting two things. First, like the Criterion, the AE set is packed to the gills with extras, many of which were featured on the previous releases. However, this set features a number of unique extras, mainly in the form of Varda's short films. While I would love to discuss all of these differences, there's just too much to mention for one review. Second, given the enormity of this review, I'll also forgo analysis of the differences between Criterion's original (OOP) release of "Vagabond" as a space saving measure. For further analysis see HERE and HERE.

Vagabond
The Criterion has a slight, but noticeable edge with sharpness. Both have the same color scheme and probably about the same amount of damage and artifacts (which is generally next to none). They differ slightly with extras and audio (the Criterion has mono, but the AE has stereo). I'll give Criterion the edge with the former, but AE the edge with the latter. In my book that means that Criterion has a slight win here.

The Beaches of Agnes
I'll begin by echoing Gary in his review. This film was really not what I was expecting, and it was a real treat. What a marvelous film! The two films have what is essentially the same image. However, the two differ dramatically when it comes to the audio. The AE again has stereo, but the Cinema Guild has surround sound. Even more critical, for whatever reason, the AE disc has forced subtitles. While there are some interesting extras here, I again have to give the edge to Cinema Guild.

L'Une Chante, l'Autre PasL'Une Chante, l'Autre Pas
Like the final release in this set, I've heard of but never encountered this film by Varda before and catching it now was a real treat. The image here is soft, but looks very much in line with much of what we see on SD from the late 70s. It's not great, but by no means bad. Colors seem slightly weak, but probably true to the way that it originally looked upon its theatrical release. Damage and artifacts were at a minimum and grain looked fairly consistent. The audio is again done in DD 2.0, so the music never really shines, but still sounds clear and consistently acceptable. The disc also sports removable English subtitles.

Jacquot de Nantes
Varda's love letter to and biography of her husband's early life and discovery of cinema was released but a year after he died. While I know little of the back story of the film, I can only imagine what the process of making it would have been like for Varda. The film itself is quite good and certainly worth checking out. The image shifts back and forth between black and white and color. Clips from Demy's films are interspersed throughout, as are interviews with the director that were probably shot on video. Although it's the standard European ratio of 1.66:1, AE decided to use a smaller image and large laetterboxing on all sides. Clarity is generally strong, and I'm afraid that the captures don't do justice to how nice the film looks in motion. It's quite lovely and a great way to end volume 2. Oh, and it's worth noting that for whatever reason I could not get the Demy short to play on my player.

This is a truly wonderful boxset even with some weakness as noted above. Even if you already own the Criterion box, I'd still recommend picking up this region free release as well. You not only get three new films, but two that aren't available anywhere else. Indeed, like the last set, I'll label this one as an essential purchase and give it my highest possible recommendation.


 

 

aka "Sans toit ni loi" or "Without Roof or Law")

 

directed by Agnes Varda
France 1985

 

Sandrine Bonnaire won a Best Actress César for her portrayal as Mona - a young and defiant drifter in this tragic story.

Using a largely non-professional cast Varda recollects Mona’s story through flashbacks of those who encountered her, producing a splintered portrait of an enigmatic woman.

Theatrical Release: December 4th, 1985 (France)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

The Criterion Collection - 4 By Agnes Varda (Spine # 74) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL

(The Criterion Collection (4 By Agnes Varda (Spine # 74)) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

The Criterion Collection

Region 1 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:45:44 1:41:03
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.4 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

The Criterion Collection (4 By Agnes Varda (Spine # 74))

Bitrate:

Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp)

Audio French (original mono)

French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Subtitles English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: The Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Remembrances (2003), a documentary on the making of the film, including interviews with Sandrine Bonnaire and other cast members (40:32)
• The Story of an Old Lady (2003), a short piece in which Varda revisits actress Marthe Jarnias, who p
• Music and Dolly Shots, (2003), a conversation between Varda and composer Joanna Bruzdowicz (12:16)
• A 1986 radio interview with Varda and writer Nathalie Sarraute, who inspired the film (9:18)
• Theatrical trailer (2:26)

DVD Release Date: January 22nd, 2008

Chapters

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Notes and Commentaries (40:36)
• Music and Travels (12:15)
• Bonus film degrade vieille femme (3:49)
• Trailers for Other Films of Agnes Varda

 

DVD Release Date: February 22nd, 2010
Slim Case in a Cardboard Case

Chapters 12

 



DVD Menus
(The Criterion Collection (4 By Agnes Varda (Spine # 74)) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(The Criterion Collection (4 By Agnes Varda (Spine # 74)) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(The Criterion Collection (4 By Agnes Varda (Spine # 74)) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(The Criterion Collection (4 By Agnes Varda (Spine # 74)) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(aka "Les plages d'Agnès" )

 

directed by Agnès Varda
France 2008

Beaches have always been important to Agnès Varda, as she would travel to the seaside every Easter and summer throughout her childhood. During the Second World War she was exiled in the costal town of Sète, a period she recalls with fondness as a time of endless fun. Returning to Sète during the late 50’s, she would use the locale and the local fishermen as the backdrop for her remarkable first feature film, LA POINTE COURTE.

In THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS, Varda returns once more to the beaches, using her early memories of the coast as a springboard for the film’s meditation on her youth.

Weaving photography, archive footage, scenes from her own films and present-day sequences, Varda takes us on a memorable voyage through her life, during which she confronts the joy of creation and the pain of personal loss, death and aging. It is a singular trip played out against the stirring backdrop of the post-war explosion of cultural expression in France. She knew everyone: the French New Wave set (she was married to Jacques Demy), the Black Panthers in California and even Jim Morrison, who would visit Agnès when he was in Paris. Idiosyncratic, engaging and deeply moving, THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS is the autobiography of a magnificent artist and a woman of vital curiosity.

Theatrical Release: December 17th, 2008 (France)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Gary Tooze for the Cinema Guild Screen Caps!

(Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Cinema Guild

Region 1 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:52:04 1:47:36
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.28 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.2 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:  

Cinema Guild

 

Bitrate:

Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp)

Audio French (Dolby Digital 5.1)

French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Subtitles English, None English (Forced), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Guild

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Two shorts by Agnes Varda on the making of the film
• Le Lion Volatil (12 minutes), short film by Agnes Varda starring Julie Depardieu
• Biography and Filmography
• Theatrical Trailer
• 12-Page booklet featuring production notes and essay by film critic Amy Taubin

DVD Release Date: March 2nd, 2010
Keep Case

Chapters 9

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Daguerre Beach (8:57)
• On Trapeze Artists and Acrobats (9:19)
• Interview (19:09)

DVD Release Date:
Slim Case in a Cardboard Case

Chapters 12

 



DVD Menus
(
Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Cinema Guild - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


 

(aka "One Sings, the Other Doesn't" )

 

directed by Agnès Varda
Venezuela/France/Belgium 1977

 

One sings, the other doesn't... Agnès Varda focuses on the intertwined lives of two women brought together during the struggle of the Women’s Movement in 1970’s France.

A subject that remains all too familiar with Varda, who was personally involved in feminist politics.

Theatrical Release: March 9th, 1977 (France)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL

DVD Box Cover

 

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:55:44
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.9 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Oncle Yano (18:00)
• Plasir d'Amour en Iran (5:46)
• Response de Femmes (7:58)

DVD Release Date:
Slim Case in Cardboard Case

Chapters 12

 



DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

 

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL


 

(aka "Jacquot" or "Garage Demy")

 

directed by Agnès Varda
France 1991

 

JACQUOT DE NANTES tells the story of a child and his obsession of pursuing his dream to become a filmmaker. How he buys his first camera, shoots his first amateur film, which marks the beginning of one of the most prestigious careers of any French director, Jacques Demy.

The story is told with emotion by Agnès Varda, who shared his life for years.

Theatrical Release: April 17th, 1992 (Netherlands)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Artificial Eye (The Agnes Varda Collection, Volume 2 (Sp) - Region 0 - PAL

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Available separately as of October 24th, 2011 here:

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:53:52
Video

Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.34 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic -

Edition Details:
• Agnes V. Raconte (17:01)
• Souvenirs de Nantes (12:05)
• Evocations and Vocations (6:35)
• Le Sabotir du Val de Loire by Jacques Demy (?)
• Trailers for Other Agnes Varda Films from Artificial Eye

DVD Release Date:
Slim Case in Cardboard Case

Chapters 12

  



DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL




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