Viva Varda

“In my films I always wanted people to see deeply. I don’t want to show things, but to give people the desire to see.”

Seamlessly inhabiting the worlds of fiction, documentary and contemporary art, Agnès Varda explored the world with a tireless curiosity for people and the places they inhabit.

This season traverses the French countryside, the Parisian streets Varda called home and the sunny climes of California where she made some of her most astounding and singular works as a director.

Born in Brussels in 1928 to a Greek father and Belgian mother, her family relocated to France during the Occupation. With the exception of a few brief stints in America, Paris was the city that Agnès Varda called home until her passing on March 29, 2019.

As a young woman Agnès studied philosophy at the Sorbonne and art history at Ecole du Louvre. Photography was her first medium and Santa pictures at Galeries Lafayette her first job. In her role at the Théâtre National Populaire, she documented some of France’s most prestigious stage talents, but in 1951 she met Alain Resnais and her interest in cinema began to bloom.

“I thought of all my films as a woman, because I didn’t want to be a ‘false man’ making films. I was trying to make films about what I knew.”

A vital presence in the cinematic landscape during her lifetime and beyond, Varda’s artistic endeavours paid witness to times of great social revolution. The personal is political in Varda’s world, alongside the humanity, wonder and artistic experimentation.

As Daniel Trilling noted in Sight & Sound, “the blurring of the boundaries between art and life is absolutely crucial to Varda’s work. To watch one of her films is to be drawn gently into an entire world.” See her final work Varda by Agnès in the International Documentaries program strand.

Kristy Matheson
Director, Film Programs, ACMI

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