Agnès Varda

Agnes Varda
Biography: courtesy of wikipedia
(born 30 May 1928) is a French film director and professor at European Graduate School. Her movies, photographs, and art installations focus on documentary realism, feminist issues, and social commentary — with a distinct experimental style.

Varda studied Art History at the Ecole du Louvre before getting a job as the official photographer for the Théâtre National Populaire in Paris. She liked photography but was interested in moving into film. After spending a few days filming the small French fishing town of La Pointe Courte for a terminally ill friend who could no longer visit on his own, Varda decided to shoot a feature film of her own. Thus in 1954, Varda’s first film, La Pointe Courte, about an unhappy couple working through their relationship in a small fishing town, was released. The film is a stylistic precursor to the French New Wave.

Despite similarities to the French New Wave, films by Varda belonged more precisely to the complementary Rive Gauche (Left Bank) cinema movement, along with Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, Marguerite Duras, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jean Cayrol and Henri Colpi. The group was strongly tied to the nouveau roman movement in literature and politically was positioned to the Left. Like the French New Wave, its members would often collaborate with each other.

Varda was married to the film director Jacques Demy from 1962 until his death in 1990.

Varda was one of the five persons to attend Jim Morrison’s burial in Paris at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Awards and accolades
* For the 1985 documentary-style feature film Vagabond/Without Roof or Rule she received the Golden Lion of the Venice Film Festival.
* In 2009 The Beaches of Agnès won the best documentary film of the César Award.
* On April 12, 2009, she was made Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur.

Vagabond

December 23rd, 2010 by Wayward Muse

Agnes Varda’s masterpiece with Sandrine Bonnaire’s breakout performance as the enigmatic “vagabond” is simply sublime. The very first shot in the movie is of Mona, our vagabond, lying dead in a frosty ditch. There are no surprises in this movie, just an intricately traced “journey” of the last period of time that Mona was alive, and the people with whom she interacted. Read More…

Cleo from 5 to 7

December 20th, 2010 by Wayward Muse

What an utter delight! There is so much here with such a deceptively simple presentation. The film follows Cleo, a young Edith Piaf successor (we even get a report on Piaf’s most recent medical recovery over the radio in a taxi ride), over the course of an hour and a half, which seems much longer as so much happens. But the camera never seems to lose sight of Cleo for a moment, staying with her in “real time” through taxi and car journeys, bus rides, and strolls down the streets of Paris, while she tries to come to terms with the fact she probably has cancer. Read More…

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