Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda – Salut les cubains (1963)

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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)

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

Quote:
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)

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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)

Synopsis:
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 »

Agnès Varda – Black Panthers (1968)

This classic 1968 documentary highlights the activities of the headquarters of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California as its members fight for the freedom of its imprisoned co-founder Huey P. Newton. Read More »

Agnès Varda – Les Cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma AKA A Hundred and One Nights of Simon Cinema (1995)

Criterion wrote:
A celebration of cinema’s centennial, One Hundred and One Nights finds Agnès Varda at her most playful. It is also perhaps her unlikeliest project: a star-studded comic fantasy with an extravagant sense of style and an adoring but slightly off-kilter perspective on the magic of filmmaking. French New Wave icon Michel Simon is a mysterious aging impresario named Simon Cinéma who has hired a young film student, Camille (Julie Gayet), to simply sit with him at his mansion and talk about movies. Skeptical yet increasingly enchanted, Camille bears witness to cinema itself coming to life, allowing Varda to wittily integrate a mind-boggling parade of appearances by screen legends (Catherine Deneuve, Marcello Mastroianni, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anouk Aimée, Robert De Niro, and many others), and attest to the vigorous health of the movies at the close of the twentieth century. Read More »

Agnès Varda – Les créatures AKA The Creatures (1966)

Criterion wrote:
One of Agnès Varda least-seen films is also one of her most fascinating: an eccentrically imaginative science-fiction fantasia that touches on human nature, free will, and the creative process. Working with major stars for the first time on a feature film, Varda casts Michel Piccoli as a writer and Catherine Deneuve as his silent wife, a couple who relocate to the island of Noirmoutier (a longtime second home for Varda and her husband, Jacques Demy) where strange goings-on hint at a sinister force controlling the minds and actions of the residents. Slipping between “reality” and fiction, genre spectacle and avant-garde experimentation, Les créatures is a beguiling, endlessly inventive exploration of the mysterious alchemy that transforms life into art. Read More »