We were pleasantly surprised by the news that Agnès Varda had completed a new short, Les 3 Boutons, set to premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Just a day later, with the help of Vogue Paris, we don’t have to wait long, go halfway across the planet, or even need a translator to enjoy her latest creation. Produced as part Miu Miu Women’s Tales, a short-film series comprising work from “women who critically celebrate femininity in the 21st century,” it presents the fantastical (albeit non-nauseating) story of a young girl who rejects the fairy-tale lifestyle to embrace the world around her.
Varda emphasizes the wonder of the seemingly ordinary latter by playing with film form, at first fooling us into thinking this is a documentary, then foregrounding its obviously fantastical elements in a down-to-earth setting. Appropriately, her own 14th arrondissement (specifically Rue Daguerre) is a source of pleasure for the protagonist (Jasmine Thiré) and viewer, having been photographed carefully, beautifully, and lovingly. The first word that this all brought to mind way “playful,” and I’m pleased that my simple descriptor is something Varda would consider appropriate. Says her, “It’s playing a game with reality. The game is called cinema.”
Watch it and a making-of — one that’s almost as long as the film, and filled with insights from Varda — below: