Agnès Varda and JR are strange bedfellows

Studio 360
Agnès Varda and JR

Agnès Varda and JR pose with host Kurt Anderson at the Slate Magazine Brooklyn office. 

Zoe Saunders

The new movie, “Faces Places,” documents the loving — albeit unexpected — friendship of Agnès Varda, 89, and JR, 34: She's a filmmaker and a founding member of the French New Wave, while he is a French artist known for plastering huge black-and-white photographs on the sides of buildings around the world.

Not long ago, they hit the road for a tour of the French countryside, creating a series of public art projects everywhere they stopped.

“We really thought we could put together our two ways of looking at people,” says Varda. “In my documentaries, I give big importance to the people I meet, try to give them opportunities to express themselves, to be bigger than life, you know.”

“We're both big curious people” says JR. “But something really important that many people don't know: We love chouquettes and chocolate eclairs.”

“Well,” says Varda. “He’s what we call a ‘sugar mouth.’”  

Some of the artworks discussed in the interview:

Agnès Varda’s “Mur Murs” (1980) and “Cléo from 5 to 7” (1962)

JR’s installation on the Mexico-US border

Work in progress on the Mexican side of the US/MEXICO border

A post shared by JR (@jr) on

JR’s “The Wrinkles of the City” Project in Shanghai