Pioneering French New Wave filmmaker Agnès Varda seems at first to have created a sweet consideration of the Canadian art collector Ydessa Hendeles and her obsessive collection of antique photographs that feature teddy bears. Nostalgia and sentimentality are the initial themes. But darker questions arise about the raison d’etre of Ydessa’s body of work when it is displayed in the Munich gallery where the Nazis mounted their infamous 1937 Degenerate Art exhibition. Varda’s lively mind ponders and she wonders aloud what it all means. Something is up here. The film reveals the tipping point that subverts nostalgia--the realization that in the music of the past there are haunting cries and screams.
Ydessa, The Bears, and Etc. is the longest of the three short films that make up Varda’s memory film Cinevardaphoto.