Salut les cubains (Agnès Varda,1963)


In 1963, Varda thoughtfully gave order to 1,800 photos that she had recently taken on a trip to Cuba. In just 30 minutes, the photographer/filmmaker achieves a sprawling depiction of the country, its people, its music, its history, its revolutions and its energy. The narration veers towards Chris Marker-like poeticism (not to mention his brand of “objective history”); Michel Piccoli and Varda engage in jocular lyric interplay. (via Fandor)

1963’s Salut les cubains is a collaboration with Yves Montand that compiles Varda’s photojournalism from Cuba into a celebratory ode to the island, its people and culture, and the still-very-young socialist state. The images are striking from a historical standpoint, although they don’t hint quite yet at the more poetic direction toward which Varda’s work will evolve. Her photo-montage style recalls both Soviet revolutionary film and the Cuban documentaries of Santiago Álvarez, whose career was just beginning at this time. Moments are poignant, such as seeing Cuban director Sara Gomez cutting up around the ICAIC studios shortly before her death. But Salut les cubains’ dominant impression is one of boundless energy and the nation’s great hope in trying to forge a new way of life. (via Youtube)

More Varda titles are available to download or stream at Doc Alliance.

Doc Alliance is the result of a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals: CPH:DOX CopenhagenDoclisboa (from 2013), DOK LeipzigFID MarseilleJihlava IDFFPlanete Doc Film Festival and Visions du Réel Nyon.

The aim of Doc Alliance is to support the diverse nature of documentary film and to increase audience awareness of the fascinating possibilities of this genre, which often manages to be more moving than the world of fiction. Doc Alliance represents a dynamic platform offering filmmakers and producers alternative forms of distribution for films that are often difficult to get onto the market. The purpose of Doc Alliance is to help documentary films reach as many viewers as possible, and to systematically support their distribution through their festival markets and online platform.

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