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Directed by Agnès Varda • 1988 • France
Starring Jane Birkin, Mathieu Demy, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Made concurrently with Agnès Varda’s portrait of Jane Birkin, JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V., KUNG-FU MASTER! is a true family affair, achieving a sense of of lived-in intimacy by casting the actor’s real-life relatives, including daughters Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, as themselves. Varda and Birkin give the familiar theme of a misunderstood couple searching for a place where their love can survive a provocative twist in this daring romance, in which Birkin (who wrote the story that provided the inspiration for the film) plays a middle-aged woman involved with a fourteen-year-old, video game–obsessed boy (Varda’s son, Mathieu Demy). The taboo relationship plays out with supreme delicacy and restraint, as Varda transforms the explosive premise into a disarmingly tender portrait of a woman’s search for lost youth.