Kung-Fu Master!

Golden Bear
Berlin International Film Festival


Kung-Fu Master!

A lovely, bittersweet companion to JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. from director Agnes Varda and star/muse Jane Birkin, KUNG-FU MASTER! has nothing to do with martial arts – the film’s title comes from an arcade video game played obsessively in the film by a teenaged boy, Julien. Birkin delivers one of her finest performances as a lonely 40-year old woman who finds herself shattering taboos by falling in love with the 14-year old Julien – but is it romance, or a desperate attempt to turn back time in the face of middle age?

KUNG-FU MASTER! is truly a family affair: Varda’s son with the late director Jacques Demy, Mathieu Demy, plays Julien – and Birkin appears here with her two real-life daughters: Charlotte Gainsbourg (from Lars von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA) and Lou Doillon, her child with well-known filmmaker Jacques Doillon. Briefly released in the late 1980s in the U.S. and long unavailable here, KUNG-FU MASTER! has been beautifully restored from the original 35mm camera negative. “It’s a film in which all the younger actors are the children of the director and lead actress” says Varda. “It was like a picnic, you know?”

A radical masterpiece that dives headlong in to the complexity of a woman’s heart — with a dreamy Jane Birkin (looking like Mick Jagger) who delicately guides us into a shocking wilderness. Seeing this movie propelled me into my own first feature —it felt like a very personal invitation, a gentle dare, a challenge that must be met. One of my all time favorites.” – Miranda July

“KUNG-FU MASTER is about that time in adolescence where sexuality is very important, but at the same time it’s very vague and hard to express. Older women can be very touched by this because they remember their own adolescence; their own vague confusion, the fear of daring and wishing and all that.” - Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda
Jane Birkin, Mathieu Demy, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Nominee, Golden Bear, Berlin International Film Festival

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