An artistic triumph of artisic expression

-by Matthew Socey-


At our last DIVA board meeting, I informed everyone that I was in the midst of working on my introductory blog but was still working on it. I am currently directing a play that opens in about a week. During the meeting, I was inspired with a topic that I will be covering at a later time here.

Two days after my first DIVA board meeting, I was pleasantly blindsided by a documentary that opens this weekend in Indianapolis. I must share this with you.

Faces Places is a wonderful documentary by eightysomething filmmaker Agnes Varda (she worked with Godard) and thirtysomething artist JR. Their project is to travel to small villages in France in their truck which doubles as a photobooth with a large printer. Locals are photographed, giant prints are made and put on the sides of buildings, rocks, train cars, stoage containers, etc.

A farmer’s image is placed on the side of his barn. A woman working at a little cafe in a southern village is weirded out by the idea, but her image near the cafe is a big hit with locals and tourists. A village that was built and later abandoned because of lack of funds gets a makeover via a picnic from locals whose faces cover some of the abandoned homes. The longtime and lone ocupant of a mining housing area has her face put on her home.facesplaces_02 the artists and some of their work

Our touring artists say that every face tells a story and that art is meant to surprise us. The project and this film delivers. I was truly inspired by Agnes and JR, the subjects and their willingness to take a chance on art (especially when it is their image) and the impact the work has given. We should all be so fortunate. We still have arts patrons that get uncomfortable if the fourth wall is broken or actors perform in the aisles.

Besides the beauty of the work, meeting some fascinating (some would say ordinary) people and a tour of France (yes, it’s subtitled – get over it), the chemistry of Agnes and JR is also fun to watch. They even parody rom-com cliches as to how they first met. Two artists from completely different backgrounds and eras with love and respect for each other and their work. This is the road trip film of the year.


This is not something that is opening in 2,000 screens and is more than likely only going to last one week. If you are a fan of The Neon in downtown Dayton, you might want to politely suggest they also run this film. Faces Places opens this weekend at the Keystone Arts Cinema on the northside of Indianapolis (p.s. They have a bar). Do not miss this film.


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JR and Agnes Varda


10/13/2017 – Matthew Socey


Matthew Socey is a DIVA board member. He’s also hosts of THE BLUES HOUSE PARTY and FILM SOCEYOLOGY for WFYI 90.1 FM in Indianapolis. He’s been found on and offstage in the Richmond, Indiana stage scene.

Matt Socey publicity shot

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