Agnès Varda is the only woman in the world to have received a Palme d’Honneur at Cannes (2015) or a Honorary Oscar, at Governors Awards (2017). These awards, amongst many others, celebrate a unique career, the masterful work of a film magician, the impish filmmaker of the Nouvelle Vague
At first, she chose to be a photographer and started at French Theater Festival d’Avignon in 1948. But soon the image alone is not enough, she wants words. Agnès then turns to the cinema, a little by chance, without claiming to be a moviegoer: “At the age of 25, I may have seen only nine or ten films. I did not go to film school, I was not an assistant, I imagined, that’s it, I started. “
Her first film, La Pointe Courte, foreshadows the New Wave five years before his advent. For Agnes, it’s a revelation: in the foreground, she knows for sure, she is a filmmaker.
And her subsequent career confirms it: about fifty films made in sixty-five years. Fiction, documentaries, tributes, TV movies, short films, Agnès Varda touches all genres and styles.
In 1962, she directed “a small film in black and white, cheap”. It is Cléo de 5 à 7. The film opens wide to her the doors of the New Wave and introduces her to the small group formed by Godard, Truffaut, Rivette, Rohmer and her husband Jacques Demy. She will pay tribute to Demy in 1991, a year after his passing, with Jacquot de Nantes, a multifaceted film and ultimate proof of love.
In 1985, Varda met her greatest commercial success with Sans toi ni loi (Homelessness and Lawless) revealing Sandrine Bonnaire who gets the French Cesar award for best actress. Her cinema is very popular, sometimes called “social”. She has often given voice to people who never have, such as in Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (The Gleaners and I) (2000)
Agnés Varda kept herself open, until her last day, to the world and to young artists, like JR whom with she travels France in a truck to co-produce Visages Villages in 2017.
All her life long, Agnès Varda has continued to affirm her feminist commitment, particularly in favor of abortion, or with the 50/50 movement for 2020 during the last Cannes Film Festival.
Her filmography is in her image: far-fetched, original and poetic. Agnès’ work bears witness to an ever-renewed curiosity and a prolific creativity. To get a taste of the world of “the Granny of Nouvelle-Vague”, we invite you to discover or revisit Les Plages d’Agnès, her solar and singular autobiography.