1987 | dir: Agnès Varda | 80 min


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?”

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