Jacquot de Nantes



By Agnès Godard

Cinematographer Agnès Godard remembers the making of Agnès Varda’s 1991 film Jacquot de Nantes.

Jacquot de Nantes plays at Metrograph, as part of our Left Bank series, on Friday, March 25.


The shoot began in May.

Patrick Blossier was the cinematographer.
He shot Vagabond.
I had wanted to be him since finishing school,
because of the way he films.
Everything seems evident and possible.

In June he calls me.

The film, Jacquot de Nantes, or Évocation d'une vocation (working title), is on hold.
The time necessary to turn it into a feature.

That’s how I understand it.
He can’t continue the project.
He says he told Agnès Varda about me
I've never done anything!

Agnès calls me.
Patrick showed her a short I made when I finished film school. It was dedicated to my father who died prematurely.
Agnès liked it.
She asks me to take over the shoot!


I’m happy and intimidated.

Intimidated I remain as I shoot my first few images for the film.

We’re at her house on rue Daguerre in Paris.

She asked me to come and film Jacques Demy in the courtyard.

Extreme close-ups of him: his hair, his skin, his eyes.
The landscape of his person.

I know that he’s ill, very ill.
I’m intimidated.

To approach him, to film his grandeur and his mortality.

I hear only his silence.
I see his hair, his skin, his eyes.
I think I discern a smile.

Jacquot de Nantes

Over the seven weeks of shooting in Nantes that follow, the film becomes this landscape that Agnès offers to Jacques.

The film stops once more and will resume in the autumn.
I can’t continue.
I’ve committed to work with Henri Alekan.
For the last time I sense it.
He’s old.
He’s my spiritual father since my father departed.
They are both intimately bound up with my initial calling to this profession.

Georges Strouvé, now deceased, will be the cinematographer for the last part of the shoot.

The film is permeated with this irreducible essence which belongs to each and to everyone: traces of lives.


Agnès Godard is a cinematographer who has shot, amongst many others, the majority of Claire Denis’s films. Her feature debut was Jacquot de Nantes.

This piece first appeared in Fireflies Magazine #5.

Jacquot de Nantes