Agnès Varda

  • Agnès Varda – Pier Paolo Pasolini – Agnès Varda – New York – 1967 (2022)

    2021-2030Agnès VardaDocumentaryFranceShort Film

    Anna Masecchia wrote:
    With her 16mm camera in hand, the optical prosthesis of a 20th-century flâneuse, Agnès Varda filmed 42nd Street in 1967, shooting a crowdof passersby to the beat of The Doors. Pier Paolo Pasolini is with her, getting lost in the lights, bodies, faces and chaos of a crowded and multicultural New York. Opening in soft focus and closing on Pasolini’s blurred face, the images shot in a direct style and without audio are merged with a dense dialogue between the two artists and intellectuals, which was recorded later. Prompted by Varda, Pasolini reflects on the relationship between reality and fiction, the Christian figurative tradition and the function of audiovisual language in contemporary society. All of which is enhanced by the audio-visual décalage that simultaneously reveals the camera as a device while emphasising the real and political information of the images, which emerges from the background and comes into the foreground. In a matter of minutes,Varda’s art captures Pasolini talking about himself and the essence of cinema as a whole, which for both is an expression of reality itself.Read More »

  • Agnès Varda – Mur murs AKA Mural Murals (1981)

    1981-1990Agnès VardaDocumentaryFrance

    After returning to Los Angeles from France in 1979, Agnès Varda created this kaleidoscopic documentary about the striking murals that decorate the city. Bursting with color and vitality, Mur Murs is as much an invigorating study of community and diversity as it is an essential catalog of unusual public art.Read More »

  • Agnès Varda – Documenteur (1981)

    1981-1990Agnès VardaDocumentaryFrance

    Documenteur, Agnès Varda’s companion piece and follow-up to her documentary Mur murs, shares with it a filming location and a similarly punning title (a menteur is a liar, in French). But the similarities end there: while Mur murs is a more or less straightforward film that purports to document the murals, the artists who created them, and the effect the pictures have on the neighborhoods surrounding them, Documenteur, which includes shots of some of those same murals and has scenes set in those same neighborhoods, is, by its own admission, “an emotion picture.” Neither pure fictional feature film nor documentary, it’s perhaps best described as a documentary with a fictionalized main character.Read More »

  • Agnès Varda – La Pointe-Courte (1955)

    1951-1960Agnès VardaArthouseDramaFrance

    La Pointe Courte: How Agnès Varda “Invented” the New Wave

    In September 1997, I saw Agnès Varda introduce a brand-new 35 mm print of her first feature film, La Pointe Courte (made in 1954), to an admiring audience at Yale University. More astonishing than the luminous black-and-white images was Varda’s claim that she had seen virtually no other films before making it (after racking her brain, she could come up with only Citizen Kane). Whether Varda’s assertion was true or the whim of an artist who does not wish to acknowledge any influence, La Pointe Courte is a stunningly beautiful and accomplished first film. It has also, deservedly, achieved a cult status in film history as, in the words of historian Georges Sadoul, “truly the first film of the nouvelle vague.”Read More »

  • Didier Rouget & Agnès Varda – Varda by Agnès (2019)

    2011-2020Agnès VardaDidier RougetDocumentaryDramaFrance

    An unpredictable documentary from a fascinating storyteller, Agnès Varda’s next film sheds light on her experience as a director, bringing a personal insight to what she calls “cine-writing,” traveling from Rue Daguerre in Paris to Los Angeles and Beijing.Read More »

  • Agnès Varda – Salut les cubains (1963)

    Agnès Varda1961-1970ArchitectureDocumentaryFranceShort Film

    1963’s Salut les cubains is a collaboration with Yves Montand that compiles Varda’s photojournalism from Cuba, ten years after the revolution, into a celebratory ode to the island, its people and culture, and the still-very-young socialist state. The images are striking from a historical standpoint, although they don’t hint quite yet at the more poetic direction toward which Varda’s work will evolve. Her photo-montage style recalls both Soviet revolutionary film and the Cuban documentaries of Santiago Álvarez, whose career was just beginning at this time. Moments are poignant, such as seeing Cuban director Sara Gomez cutting up around the ICAIC studios shortly before her death. But Salut les cubains’ dominant impression is one of boundless energy and the nation’s great hope in trying to forge a new way of life.Read More »

  • Agnès Varda – L’opéra-mouffe AKA Diary of a Pregnant Woman (1958)

    Agnès Varda1951-1960DramaFranceShort Film

    Impressions of the rue Mouffetard, Paris 5, through the eyes of a pregnant woman.

    A pregnant filmmaker takes us to rue Mouffetard, “la Mouffe,” in the Latin Quarter of Paris for a mix of documentary footage and imagined scenes. Vignettes or chapters unfold – on the feeling of nature, on pregnancy, on anxiety, on desire, and so forth. Women shop at a vegetable market, their faces marked by care and poverty. We see young lovers, playful and innocent. Derelicts drink and sleep on sidewalks. A weary pregnant woman carries her shopping bags; later, she eats flowers. There are counterpoints of gritty realism and playful, near-surrealistic images. Political and artistic consciousnesses create a montage.Read More »

  • Agnès Varda – Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse AKA The Gleaners and I (2000)

    1991-2000Agnès VardaArthouseDocumentaryFrance

    Varda films and interviews gleaners in France in all forms, from those picking fields after the harvest to those scouring the dumpsters of Paris.Read More »

  • Agnès Varda & Laura Obiols – Les plages d’Agnès AKA The Beaches of Agnes (2008)

    2001-2010Agnès VardaDocumentaryFranceLaura Obiols

    At nearly 80, Agnès Varda explores her memory – growing up in Belgium, living in Sète, Paris, and Noirmoutier, discovering photography, making a film, being part of the New Wave, raising children with Jacques Demy, losing him, and growing old. She explores her memory using photographs, film clips, home movies, contemporary interviews, and set pieces she designs to capture a feeling, a time, or a frame. Shining through each scene are her impish charm, inventiveness, and natural empathy. How do people grow old, how does loss stay with them, can they remain creative, and what do they remember? Memory, she says, is like a swarm of confused flies. She envisions hers for us.Read More »

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