Agnès Varda (1928-2019)
March 29, 2019 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Agnès Varda, the mother of the French New Wave, has died at the age of 90. Varda's last interview: 'I fought for radical cinema all my life'. Her latest, Varda by Agnès, premiered in 2019.
posted by sapagan (51 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
posted by PistachioRoux at 11:25 AM on March 29

posted by socialjusticeworrier at 11:27 AM on March 29

posted by The Bellman at 11:31 AM on March 29

. I haven't seen enough of her work but I've loved everything that I've seen. One of her last, Faces Places, is on Netflix and is charming and fascinating.
posted by octothorpe at 11:37 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]

The Gleaners and I blew my mind when I was in film school. Her documentaries are incredible. I've never seen a more empathetic approach to the form. The way she connected with her subjects, and the amount of love and affection pouring out of her camera, there's nothing like it.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:53 AM on March 29 [14 favorites]

posted by Cash4Lead at 11:56 AM on March 29

The only film of hers I've seen is Cléo from 5 to 7, which I loved. It looks like I have an entire career to catch up on.
posted by phooky at 11:59 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I saw The Gleaners and I as a teenager and it made me think differently about how one can put oneself in a narrative. She was really brilliant.
posted by torridly at 12:07 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]

Also, never forget the time she sent a cardboard cutout of herself to the Oscars. A legend.
posted by torridly at 12:08 PM on March 29 [12 favorites]

posted by vibrotronica at 12:18 PM on March 29

One of the all time greats.

posted by dadaclonefly at 12:24 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]

She was so charming and my absolutely favorite director ever. Her voice will be missed.
posted by Duffington at 12:25 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]

posted by GenjiandProust at 12:27 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]

If you are curious about her work and want to start someplace unexpected, might I recommend Sans toit ni loi ("Vagabond"), which is literally the story of a female vagabond wandering the countryside of France. Not many people tell stories like that let alone stories about those types of female characters. Varda did. This is why she will forever be a legend and a hero of mine.

The tarot reading at the beginning of "Cleo from 5 to 7" also remains my favorite opening titles sequence.

I'm really, really going to miss her. This one is hitting me hard.
posted by nightrecordings at 12:31 PM on March 29 [15 favorites]

posted by edeezy at 12:39 PM on March 29

So is Godard the only director left from the French New Wave?
posted by octothorpe at 12:41 PM on March 29

I loved Faces Places, and I'm looking forward to seeing her last film. Agnes Varda was a treasure.

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:45 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]

La Pointe Courte was the first of her films I saw. It's fantastic. All of her films feel like the person who wrote and made them was writing about their own life. She had an almost unique way of observing and understanding so many different people and lives. An amazing career.
posted by fshgrl at 12:51 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]

posted by brujita at 1:00 PM on March 29

posted by evilDoug at 1:07 PM on March 29

posted by theory at 1:59 PM on March 29

posted by From Bklyn at 2:42 PM on March 29

posted by clavdivs at 3:02 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]

I had a class back in film school focusing on "Women's Film", and it was quite an interesting jolt to go from Now, Voyager and similar weepies to Vagabond. Thank you, Ms. Varda.

posted by queensissy at 3:04 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]

posted by destructive cactus at 3:06 PM on March 29

Film historian Georges Sadoul said that La Pointe Courte [made in 1955] was, "truly the first film of the nouvelle vague." If one agrees with this it pre-dates Breathless and The 400 Blows by 4 or 5 years. No film books I read - when I was going to school - acknowledged this. The film was edited by Alain Resnais who was a fellow 'left bank' filmmaker - often noted as a subset within the New Wave. But, of course, Agnes Varda made so many wonderful and provocative films. She was a pioneer and I'm glad she was recognized as such over the past 20 years.
posted by Rashomon at 3:22 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


What a difficult week. I want to believe in an afterlife where Ms. Varda, Ranking Roger and Scott Walker can discuss the universe and make music videos together.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 3:23 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]

posted by defenestration at 3:52 PM on March 29

posted by chinesefood at 5:09 PM on March 29


I saw Vagabond when it came out, and it was totally different from anything I'd seen before. It was so raw. Both beautiful and painful to watch. I thought about it for days (weeks?) afterwards. Well, maybe decades since I'm still thinking about it now.
posted by pangolin party at 5:11 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]

posted by lapolla at 5:34 PM on March 29

posted by rhizome at 5:51 PM on March 29

posted by penduluum at 6:22 PM on March 29

I saw 'Vagabond' when it came out and I still think of it today. Also, my film buff former housemate watched 'One Sings, the Other Doesn't' over and over again... so many layers!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:31 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]

Well, shit.

The first film of hers I saw was Daguerréotypes. I'd never seen any film like that, and I still haven't. She was one of the all-time great filmmakers.

RIP Agnès.

posted by dubitable at 6:35 PM on March 29

Also this fucking quote:

I don’t relate to success. I relate to making films.
posted by dubitable at 6:40 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]

She was amazingly talented and so unique. One of our cats is named after her, which is a big tribute in my house. 90’s good and all, but I selfishly want more time.

posted by but no cigar at 6:55 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]

posted by tychotesla at 7:13 PM on March 29

Yeah, I want a . bigger than the ordinary .
posted by praemunire at 7:18 PM on March 29

Several filmmaker friends and I saw "Faces Places" and found it hugely disappointing. Which of her films do folks here recommend as a good starting point?
posted by PhineasGage at 7:22 PM on March 29

posted by Mister Bijou at 7:37 PM on March 29

posted by nobody at 8:26 PM on March 29

posted by one teak forest at 9:24 PM on March 29

Which of her films do folks here recommend as a good starting point?

Cléo de 5 à 7 is awesome!

Cleo is the sort of person who has a curtain in her apartment so she can run behind it when she's finished performing a scene in her overdramatic life. What an unforgettable character! (And you can believe she knows she is.) Some day I will go to Paris, find that park staircase, and SWAN DOWN IT like Cleo.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:52 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]

I've only seen three of her films but they each had an impact on me. She's always stood out for me as a personality in French film. I also really enjoyed seeing her hanging out with JR on his instagram after the release of Visages Villages. My following of her work has been sporadic and half-assed and I wish that I had put more energy in appreciating her while she was here.

Au revoir, Agnès. Merci pour tout.

posted by no mind at 12:22 AM on March 30

posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 1:47 AM on March 30

Agnes Varda also directed in 1968 a documentary about the Black Panthers
posted by talos at 2:43 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]

posted by filtergik at 4:23 AM on March 30

posted by kozad at 8:47 AM on March 30

One of Agnès Varda's grandchildren painted the red posts outside of the Montparnasse cemetery, where she was laid to rest yesterday, to look like his grandmother's iconic hairdo.
posted by octothorpe at 8:10 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]

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