Mur Murs Screen 5 articles

Mur Murs

1981

Mur Murs Poster
  • Mur Murs elegantly surveys the colorful large-scale murals that make Los Angeles into a playful, multicultural outdoor gallery; as the film progresses, though, it reveals itself to also be a topography of the sprawling city’s racial and sociological landscape—many of the murals are located in Mexican American and African American communities and function as public expressions of their marginalization.

  • Mur Murs (1980) is a gregarious documentary survey of local street art (fitting for Varda, whose whole career is a shining monument to non-mass-produced imagery).

  • Time has not been kind to Mur Murs. Having been recorded on video has unfortunately dated the film’s somewhat crude aesthetic. But what it lacks in visual quality, it more than makes up for in formal innovation... In a film filled with indelible images, Varda’s humanist touch is best illustrated by a sequence examining a portrait by Twichell, which covers the side of an unemployment office...

  • Today, it would seem that some murals may only exist in Ms. Varda’s movie. “Mur Murs” ranks with Thom Andersen’s compilation film “Los Angeles Plays Itself” as a photographic monument of what, thanks to the movies, may be the world’s most photographed city.

  • As ever, Varda's penchant for creative diversions (such as an interlude on tattoos and car art) and ear for the rhythms of urban life (multiple sequences pause to simply absorb the sounds and music of the streets) add to the textural richness of a work with no shortage of visual pleasures at its disposal. It’s such an infectious, idyllic vision that it’s startling to think that something several times more sobering could be conjured from the same wellspring of experience.

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