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Two Artists Put Up Posters All Over Town to Educate Portland About the Work of Filmmaker Agnès Varda. They Ended Up Starting a Movement.

The duo learned that a woman in Laredo, Texas, put up posters in her town, 2,000 miles from where the project began.

When Laura Glazer and Jennifer Jones set out to spread the gospel of filmmaker Agnès Varda, neither had any idea how far it would actually go.

The two multimedia artists have long been friends and bonded over a shared love of the late French New Wave director after they ran into each other at a screening of Varda’s documentary Faces Places at the Hollywood Theatre in 2018.

Last spring, the pair stapled posters all around Portland with the words “Agnès Varda Forever” written in bold letters and pull tabs with names of the director’s films—sort of like an analog version of Letterboxd, or the staff picks at a video store. It’s hard to think of another director better suited for the project: Varda’s lengthy filmography relishes the small, tiny moments of connection hidden in everyday life.

“What I really like about Agnès Varda movies is that she’s not afraid to dwell on details,” says Glazer, who’s currently working on her MFA at Portland State University. “The idea that we could make a piece of art in our community where there’s layers of delightful details—that’s something we really like about Agnès Varda, and about life.”

The fliers papered telephone poles from Kenton to Sellwood and out to 188th Avenue. On a road trip to California, Jones put them up at every stop, all the way down to Palm Springs.

The posters quickly gained a cult following. According to Google Trends, the term “Agnès Varda” has seen a dramatic spike in searches in Oregon. News of the project even reached the famed director’s daughter, Rosalie Varda, who left a comment of support on the Hollywood Theatre’s Instagram page.

Now, the project has grown even beyond Jones and Glazer. Friends of the two artists put fliers up in New York City and Chicago—and last month, the duo learned that a woman in Laredo, Texas, put up posters in her town, 2,000 miles from where the project began.

“I started it just for fun, but so many people have engaged with it,” says Jones. “When something sort of goofy like this happens and Portland really participates and takes it up, it makes me very proud of Portland.”