On March 29, the world lost a fearless and uncompromising visionary with the passing of iconic filmmaker Agnès Varda.
She burst onto the scene, directing LA POINTE COURTE in 1954 at only 26 years-old. Often known as “the mother of the French New Wave,” she challenged conventions of cinematic form and style and infused her work with social commentary and documentary realism. She cemented her reputation as a revolutionary auteur and an unflinching feminist with her films CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7; ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN’T; and VAGABOND. In her later work, she was often playful and autobiographical, turning the camera on herself in BEACHES OF AGNÈS, which won the 2009 Cesar Award for Best Documentary.
In 2013, Varda served as AFI FEST presented by Audi’s Guest Artistic Director, programming films that inspired her six-decade-long career. She exhibited restored versions of CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7, DOCUMENTEUR and her late husband Jacques Demy’s musical THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG. In 2017, Varda returned to AFI FEST to premiere her documentary FACES PLACES, co-directed with French installation artist JR. She capped off the year by receiving an Honorary Academy Award for her contributions to cinema. Her last film VARDA BY AGNÈS debuted at the Berlin Film Festival in February to wide acclaim. Varda forged her own path and will be remembered for inspiring others with her boundless imagination, constant reinvention and deeply personal filmmaking that continues to resonate with filmmakers and audiences to this day.
Watch this never-before-seen clip from AFI FEST 2017, wherein Varda talks about her curiosity about other people’s uniqueness.