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Odessa, The Bears and Etc by Agnes Varda

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Agnes Varda defines “Cinécriture” as the style that each film maker has to produce films. For Varda, cinema is a craft made slowly and carefully by hand. For that reason, the selection of each shot, photo, light, music, etc. are the most important parts of each film.

In the film Ydessa, the Bears and etc., the music, the shots, the movement of the camera, the selection of photos, and the scenario are just some of all the attributes used in the film. Something that really caught my attention is the way Varda uses close-ups in most of the scenes to focus people’s attention in an object and its details. An example of this is the scene in which everything is pull out of the screen and only Ydessa’s face remains, while she is talking about her gallery, simulating a portrait. I think this is a very effective way to focus everyone’s attention into what Ydessa is saying and what she represents. For Varda, films are made to share ideas, emotions and different ways for looking at reality. For that reason, she uses music and different photos to catch viewers’ attention but at the same time, causes intrigue and curiosity about what’s next. The way the camera is moved is an important factor. Slow to show details, like the scene in which she focuses Ydessa and her necklace to show her style and to remark something special and important, or fast just to make a general point.

Varda tells a story with each photo, making the viewer notice every important detail. She uses narrative to connect people with Ydessa and her gallery. The film shows Ydessa’s exhibition in a way that makes us think that we are going through those corridors, curious and a little confused until, we finally notice the real purpose. When people arrive in the room where Hitler is on his knees, they say that the bears lose their innocence. At the moment when people talk about this, Varda puts Hitler’s face as a watermark. The montage, the background and the scene are there to remind us that things do not have a single meaning and that seeing or knowing extra stuff can change our perspective completely. This scene makes us to look back at the photos in a different light. Although teddy bears are cute, what Ydessa really wants to show is a dark part of humanity. The selection of photos becomes a little disturbing and the music that accompanies each scene changes its tone. The teddy bears seem to be innocent; however, the photos of kids with guns aiming teddy bears or naked people with teddy bears remind us that innocence is not always so obvious.

Varda in her film takes us through a wonderful journey around Ydessa’s gallery. With all the scenes, photos and even with each interview, she reflects feelings and emotions. Definitely, all these details that Varda includes in her film are unique and represent what she defines as “Cinécriture”.

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Odessa, the Bears and Etc by Agnes Varda. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from
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