Dir. Agnès Varda, 1995, 104 min
With Michel Piccoli, Fanny Ardant, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Julie Gayet, Marcello Mastroianni
In French with English subtitles
A celebration of cinema’s centennial, One Hundred and One Nights finds Agnès Varda at her most playful. It is also perhaps her unlikeliest project: a star-studded comic fantasy with an extravagant sense of style and an adoring but slightly off-kilter perspective on the magic of filmmaking.
Michel Piccoli is a mysterious aging impresario named Simon Cinéma who has hired a young film student, Camille (Julie Gayet), to simply sit with him at his mansion and talk about movies. Skeptical at first she becomes increasingly enchanted as Cinéma brings cinema to life.
Varda wittily integrates a mind-boggling parade of appearances by screen legends (Catherine Deneuve, Marcello Mastroianni, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anouk Aimée, Robert De Niro, and Gérard Depardieu, to name a few), attesting to the vigorous health of the movies at the close of the twentieth century.
“Piccoli plays the preposterous central role here with just enough brio to make it work.” – The New York Times