Agnes Varda

Director, Screenwriter, Still photographer
Agnes Varda is often called the "grandmother of the New Wave. " Although not a member of the Cahiers du cinema critical fraternity which formed the core of this movement, the Belgian-born Varda completed her ... Read more »
Born: 05/29/1928 in Brussels, BE

Filmography

Director (19)

Two Years Later 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

Documenteur 2012 (Movie)

(Director)

The Beaches of Agnes 2009 (Movie)

(Director)

Cinevardaphoto 2005 (Movie)

(Director)

The Gleaners and I 2001 (Movie)

(Director)

One Hundred and One Nights 1999 (Movie)

(Director)

The Universe of Jacques Demy 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Jacquot 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Kung Fu Master! 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

Jane B. par Agnes V. 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Vagabond 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

One Sings, the Other Doesn't 1977 (Movie)

(Director)

Lions Love 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

Le Bonheur 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

Les Creatures 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

Cléo de 5 à 7 1962 (Movie)

(Director)

Les Fiances du Pont Macdonald 1960 (Movie)

(Director)

The Riveria: Today's Eden 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

La Pointe courte 1953 (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (18)

Two Years Later 2014 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Documenteur 2012 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Beaches of Agnes 2009 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Cinevardaphoto 2005 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Gleaners and I 2001 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

One Hundred and One Nights 1999 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Jacquot 1993 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Kung Fu Master! 1989 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Jane B. par Agnes V. 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Vagabond 1986 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

One Sings, the Other Doesn't 1977 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Lions Love 1969 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Le Bonheur 1965 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Les Creatures 1964 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Cléo de 5 à 7 1962 (Movie)

adaptation (Writer (adaptation))

Cléo de 5 à 7 1962 (Movie)

dialogue (Writer (dialogue))

Cléo de 5 à 7 1962 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

La Pointe courte 1953 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Actor (10)

Great Directors 2010 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

The Beaches of Agnes 2009 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Conversations in World Cinema 1999 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

The Truth About Charlie 2002 (Movie)

The Widow Hyppolite (Actor)

The Gleaners and I 2001 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Young Girls of Rochefort 1998 (Movie)

Nun (Actor)

Jane B. par Agnes V. 1988 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Three Women Filmmakers 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor
Producer (9)

Two Years Later 2014 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Beaches of Agnes 2009 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Gleaners and I 2001 (Movie)

(Producer)

Jacquot 1993 (Movie)

(Producer)

Kung Fu Master! 1989 (Movie)

(Producer)

Jane B. par Agnes V. 1988 (Movie)

(Producer)

One Sings, the Other Doesn't 1977 (Movie)

(Producer)

Lions Love 1969 (Movie)

(Producer)

La Pointe courte 1953 (Movie)

(Producer)
Editor (5)

The Beaches of Agnes 2009 (Movie)

(Editor)

Cinevardaphoto 2005 (Movie)

("Ydessa, The Bears, and Etc.") (Editor)

The Gleaners and I 2001 (Movie)

(Editor)

Jane B. par Agnes V. 1988 (Movie)

(Editor)

Vagabond 1986 (Movie)

(Editor)
Music (3)

Lola 2001 (Movie)

("C'est Moi, C'est Lola") (Song)

One Sings, the Other Doesn't 1977 (Movie)

(Song)

Cléo de 5 à 7 1962 (Movie)

lyrics (Theme Lyrics)
Camera, Film, & Tape (3)

Two Years Later 2014 (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Beaches of Agnes 2009 (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Gleaners and I 2001 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Biography

Agnes Varda is often called the "grandmother of the New Wave. " Although not a member of the Cahiers du cinema critical fraternity which formed the core of this movement, the Belgian-born Varda completed her first feature, "La Pointe Courte," in 1954, five years before the New Wave's first films. With almost no academic or technical knowledge of film (though she had been a still photographer for Jean Vilar's Theatre National Populaire), Varda told two parallel tales (a structure inspired by William Faulkner's "Wild Palms"): the jagged romance of a young married couple and the struggles of the fishermen in the village of La Pointe Courte. Critic Georges Sadoul called this work "certainly the first film of the Nouvelle Vague" and it set the tone for Varda's career to come, combining fiction with documentary and also, in its debt to Faulkner, illustrating Varda's desire to expand the language of film. "I had the feeling," she said later, "that the cinema was not free, above all in its form, and that annoyed me. I wanted to make a film exactly as one writes a novel."

Unfortunately for Varda, "La Pointe Courte" (which was edited by Alain Resnais, who initially refused to work on it because Varda's techniques were close to those which he was developing) would be the only feature she would make in the 1950s. Although she lit the fuse under the New Wave, it was not until the explosive feature debuts of her male counterparts that Varda received another opportunity to direct a feature, "Cleo From 5 to 7" (1961), which established her as a significant talent on the international film scene. In "Cleo," the story of two hours of a woman's life as she waits to hear if she has cancer, we witness the emergence of a great Varda theme, borrowed from Simone de Beauvoir: "One isn't born a woman, one becomes one."

From her first film to her most recent projects, Varda has shown a strong connection to the Earth, becoming a kind of cinematic Mother Nature, whose characters have been personifications of wood and iron ("La Pointe Courte"), sickly trees ("Vagabond," 1985), animals ("Les Creatures," 1966) and food ("Apple" of "One Sings, The Other Doesn't" 1977). The world of Agnes Varda is one expansive Garden of Eden, where characters can live without the human burden of morality or sin, whether that world is the French Riviera (the short "Du cote de la cote" 1958), the city ("Cleo from 5 to 7"), or the country ("Le Bonheur," 1965; "Les Creatures," "Vagabond"). Varda knows that this Eden is a mythical place which exists only in the minds of her main characters and for this reason, her films also contain contrasting elements: troubled characters (the struggling fishermen of "La Pointe Courte" or the suicidal wife of "Le Bonheur") or less picturesque surroundings (the frozen landscape of "Vagabond").

Although Varda's initial impact on cinema was a powerful one, by the mid-1960s her career as a commercial filmmaker began to wane. After the improvisational and obscure "Lions Love" (1969), about an avant-garde woman director who goes to Hollywood, Varda completed only one more fictional commercial feature over the next fifteen years--the epic feminist tale of womanhood and motherhood, "One Sings, the Other Doesn't." She remained active by directing numerous shorts and documentaries, but much of her work went unseen or unnoticed.

It was not until the mid-80s that Varda reemerged in the commercial realm. While "Kung Fu Master!" (1987) was a misnamed and rather tentative story of the abortive romance between a middle-aged woman (Jane Birkin) and a 14 year-old video game buff (played by Varda's son Mathieu), "Vagabond," a documentary-style feature about a young French female wanderer, was arguably her best work to date. It dealt with all her major concerns: the independence of women, the coexistence with nature, the need for freedom, the acceptance of chance, the cyclical nature of birth and death, the personification of nature, and the seamless blending of documentary and fiction. Sadly the illness and death of Varda's husband, filmmaker Jacques Demy, helped to inspire her affectionate docu-valentine to his youth in "Jacquot/Jacquot de Nantes" (1992).

Relationships

Jacques Demy

Husband
together from 1959 married from 1962 until his death on October 27, 1990 at age 59 made such films as "Lola" (1961) and "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964)

Mathieu Demy

Son
born in 1972 father, Jacques Demy has appeared in films by both his parents, including Varda's "One Sings, the Other Doesn't" (1976) and "Kung Fu Master!" (1987) and as the voice of the small clown in Demy's animated film, "The Turning Table" (1988)

Christiane Pasquet

Mother
French came from Sete, a small seaport in the south of France near Montpellier died in 1990

Eugene Varda

Father
Greek

Rosalie Varda

Daughter
born in 1958 appeared as the 17 year-old Marie in "One Sings, the Other Doesn't" (1976) has designed costumes for Varda's and Jacques Demy's films as well as films including Jean-Luc Godard's "Passion" (1982)

EDUCATION

Sorbonne, University of Paris

Paris

Ecole du Louvre

Paris
studied to become museum curator

College de Sete

Ecole de Vaugirard

Paris
studied at night school

Lycee Victor Duruy

Paris

Milestones

1977

Founded Cine-Tamaris, a production company, to produce "One Sings, the Other Doesn't"

1954

Debut as screenwriter, director and producer with "La pointe courte"

1951

Hired by Jean Vilar to be official photographer for Theatre National Populaire

1947

While a student, became photographer for Theater Festival of Avignon

Recevied photojournalism assignments which took her all over Europe during the 1950s

Directed two documentary travelogues commissioned by the French Tourist Office, "O saisons, o chateaux" and "Du cote de la Cote"

Grew up in her mother's home town of Sete in France

Bonus Trivia

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"In my films I always wanted to make people see deeply. I don't want to show things, but to give people the desire to see." --Agnes Varda (from Sadoul's "Dictionary of Film Makers")

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