Kung-Fu Master! / Jane B. by Agnes V. (1987-88 Agnes Varda)

Kung-Fu Master! is narrated in past tense by Jane Birkin’s character, who becomes interested in a teenage classmate of her daughter. They invite him on vacation to London, where Jane’s older daughter catches on to their affair, causing huge scandal. The movie is also about video games, and increasingly about the AIDS crisis. The silly title combined with unappealing premise kept me away for years, but this is a proper movie, beautifully made, and a warm family affair (Birkin’s daughters are her real daughters, and the boy is Mathieu Demy).

When Jane shows off the piano in her kitchen in the documentary, I realized the Kung-Fu interiors were shot at her house. But Jane B. is not a documentary, at least not exactly. They put different wigs on her and she acts out alternate lives, both from her own fantasies and stories contributed by Agnes – including an extended “Maurel & Lardy” routine with Laura Betti (the servant in Teorema).