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Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda speaking at a retrospective series at the Harvard Film Archive
Born 30 May 1928 (1928-05-30) (age 81)
Brussels, Belgium
Occupation director, screenwriter, editor, actor, producer, installation artist, photographer
Years active 1955 - present

Agnès Varda (born 30 May 1928) is a French film director. Her movies, photographs, and art installations focus on documentary realism, feminist issues, and social commentary — with a distinct experimental style.



Varda was born Arlette Varda in Brussels, Belgium, to a Greek father and French mother. Her father's family were Greek refugees from Asia Minor.

Varda studied Art History at the Ecole du Louvre before getting a job as the official photographer for the Théâtre National Populaire in Paris.[1] She liked photography but was interested in moving into film. After spending a few days filming the small French fishing town of La Pointe Courte for a terminally ill friend who could no longer visit on his own, Varda decided to shoot a feature film of her own. Thus in 1954, Varda’s first film, La Pointe Courte, about an unhappy couple working through their relationship in a small fishing town, was released. The film is a stylistic precursor to the French New Wave.[2]

Despite similarities to the French New Wave, films by Varda belonged more precisely to the complementary Rive Gauche (Left Bank Cinema) movement, along with Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, Marguerite Duras, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jean Cayrol and Henri Colpi. The group was strongly tied to the nouveau roman movement in literature and politically was positioned in the Left. Like the French New Wave, its members would often collaborate with each other.

Agnès Varda was married to the film director Jacques Demy from 1962 until his death in 1990.


For the 1985 documentary-style feature film Vagabond/Without Roof or Rule she received the Golden Lion of the Venice Film Festival. In 2009 " The Beaches of Agnes" won the best documentary film of the Cesar Award.[3] On April 12, 2009, she was made Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur.[4]

Selected filmography

Year Film English Title Notes
1956 La Pointe Courte Director, Writer
1962 Cléo de 5 à 7 Cléo from 5 to 7 Director, Writer
1965 Le Bonheur Happiness Director, Writer
1969 Lions Love Lions Love Director, Writer, Producer
1975 Daguerréotypes Director, Writer
1977 L'Une chante, l'autre pas One Sings, the Other Doesn't Director, Writer
1980-1981 Documenteur Documenteur Director, Writer
1985 Sans toit ni loi Vagabond Director, Writer, Editor
1986-1987 Jane B. par Agnès V. Jane B. by Agnes V. Director, Writer, Editor
1987 Kung-Fu Master Le Petit amour Director, Writer
1991 Jacquot de Nantes Director, Writer
1993 Les demoiselles ont eu 25 ans The Young Girls Turn 25 Director, Writer
1994 Les Cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma A Hundred and One Nights Director, Writer
2000 Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse The Gleaners and I Director, Writer, Producer, Editor
2002 Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse... deux ans après The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later Director, Editor
2003 Lion volatil, Le Director, Writer, Producer, Editor
2008 Plages d'Agnès, Les The Beaches of Agnes Director, Writer, Producer


  1. ^ Smith, Alison. Agnes Varda Manchester University Press, 1998. Pg 3.
  2. ^ Neupert, Richard. A History of the French New Wave Cinema University of Wisconsin Press, 2007. Pg. 57.
  3. ^
  4. ^ [1]

External links

Further reading

  • How Agnès Varda "invented" the New Wave by Ginette Vincendeau, Four by Agnes Varda, Criterion, 2008
  • Smith, Alison. Agnès Varda Manchester University Press, 1998. Pg 3.
  • Neupert, Richard. A History of the French New Wave Cinema. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI. 2007. Pg 57.

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