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Agnès Varda (born 30 May 1928) is a French film director and professor at the European Graduate School.[1] Her movies, photographs, and art installations focus on documentary realism, feminist issues, and social commentary — with a distinct experimental style.

Agnès Varda (*)

Life and career

Varda was born Arlette Varda in Brussels, Belgium, the daughter of Christiane (née Pasquet) and Eugene Jean Varda, an engineer.[2] Her mother was French and her father's family were Greek refugees from Asia Minor.

Varda studied Art History at the Ecole du Louvre before getting a job as the official photographer for the Théâtre National Populaire in Paris.[3] 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.[4]

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, with whom she had one child, actor Mathieu Demy. Jacques Demy also legally adopted Rosalie Varda, Agnes Varda's daughter from a previous union with actor Antoine Bourseiller, who starred in her early film "Cleo from 5 to 7".

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

She was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005 and a member of the jury at the Venice Film Festival in 1983.

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.[5]
On April 12, 2009, she was made Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur.[6]

Selected filmography
Agnès Varda speaking at a retrospective series at the Harvard Film Archive
Year Film English Title Credits
1956 La Pointe Courte — Director, Writer
1962 Cléo de 5 à 7 Cléo from 5 to 7 Director, Writer
1965 Le Bonheur Happiness Director, Writer
1969 Lions Love Lions Love Director, Writer, Producer
1975 Daguerréotypes — Director, Writer
1977 L'Une chante, l'autre pas One Sings, the Other Doesn't Director, Writer
1980–1981 Documenteur Documenteur Director, Writer
1985 Sans toit ni loi Vagabond Director, Writer, Editor
1986–1987 Jane B. par Agnès V. Jane B. by Agnes V. Director, Writer, Editor
1987 Le Petit amour Kung-Fu Master Director, Writer
1991 Jacquot de Nantes — Director, Writer
1993 Les demoiselles ont eu 25 ans The Young Girls Turn 25 Director, Writer
1994 Les Cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma A Hundred and One Nights Director, Writer
2000 Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse The Gleaners and I Director, Writer, Producer, Editor
2002 Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse... deux ans après The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later Director, Editor
2003 Lion volatil, Le — Director, Writer, Producer, Editor
2008 Les plages d'Agnès The Beaches of Agnès Director, Writer, Producer


^ See: Agnès Varda Faculty Page @ European Graduate School
^ http://www.filmreference.com/film/29/Agnes-Varda.html
^ Smith, Alison. Agnes Varda Manchester University Press, 1998. Pg 3.
^ Neupert, Richard. A History of the French New Wave Cinema University of Wisconsin Press, 2007. Pg. 57.
^ http://www.lescesarducinema.com/#palmares
^ [1]

External links

Agnès Varda Faculty Page @ European Graduate School Biography, bibliography, films and quotes.
Agnès Varda at the Internet Movie Database
Biography on newwavefilm.com
Jonathan Romney, The Beaches of Agnès (Sight & Sound 'Film of the Month')
"A Talk: Agnès Varda ," 2009, (Frieze Foundation Talks)
Agnès Varda talks about cinema and her work

Further reading

How Agnès Varda "invented" the New Wave by Ginette Vincendeau, Four by Agnes Varda, Criterion, 2008
Smith, Alison. Agnès Varda Manchester University Press, 1998. Pg 3.
Neupert, Richard. A History of the French New Wave Cinema. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin. 2007. Pg 57.

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