Varda by Agnès is an autobiography/documentary on the late legendary filmmaker Agnès Varda. This is a must-see film for cinephiles everywhere.
“I live in cinema. I feel I've lived here forever.”
Agnès Varda was the ‘Mother' of the French New Wave, pioneering a path for European art cinema. Varda was an icon of independent filmmaking through realism, imagery, and using the camera "as a pen". She helped create onscreen female protagonists and a female cinematic voice that needed to be heard. Some of her greatest achievements were La Pointe-Courte (1955), Cléo from 5 to 7 (1961), Le Bonheur (Happiness) (1965), One Sings, the Other Doesn't (1977), Vagabond (1984), The Gleaners and I (2000), and Faces Places (2017). Agnès Varda was a legend and her final film was a total delight to watch — with a dash of melancholy at the end. Like many previous films made by Varda, her final film focused on achieving documentary realism. From the first shot, we see Varda sitting amongst people in a crowded auditorium and talking to them like she was teaching a film class. This also goes for the audience watching her movie. I felt completely immersed in her teaching and soaked up everything she said about her life in film. It was an honor to listen and to learn from the words of a master.
Throughout her films, Varda has been known for addressing feminist issues, producing social commentaries, and demonstrating a distinctive experimental style. Throughout her life, among other awards and nominations, Varda received an honorary Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, a Golden Lion (for Vagabond) at the Venice Film Festival, an Academy Honorary Award, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature (Faces Places with French photographer, JR). Varda was not only a filmmaker, but she was also a photographer. Varda by Agnès shows and dissects some of Varda's most important photographs she had taken during her career. Sadly, Varda by Agnès has become a final sway song for our beloved director, as she passed away last March at the age of 90. I didn't want this film to end, I could have stayed an listened to Varda talk for another two hours. Her words and her visions were all enlightening and have shaped the way we look and study film. She is a cinematic pioneer and her work should always be preserved for generations to come. Varda by Agnès is one of the most important autobiographies/documentaries to come out in 2019. I hope that somewhere out there, Varda is relaxing peacefully at a beach. Rest in Peace to the 'Grandmother of the New Wave'.
“This is what cinema is all about. Images, sound, whatever, are what we use to construct a way which is cinema, which is supposed to produce effects, not only in our eyes and ears, but in our 'mental' movie theater in which image and sound already are there. There is a kind of on-going movie all the time, in which the movie that we see comes in and mixes, and the perception of all these images and sound proposed to us in a typical film narration piles up in our memory with other images, other associations of images, other films, but other mental images we have, they pre-exist. So a new image in a film titillates or excites another mental image already there or emotions that we have so when you propose something to watch and hear, it goes, it works. It's like we have sleeping emotions in us all the time, half-sleeping, so one specific image or the combination of one image and sound, or the way of putting things together, like two images one after another, what we call montage, editing - these things ring a bell. These half-asleep feelings just wake up because of that - that is what it is about. This is not to make a film and say: 'Okay, let's get a deal, let's tell the story, let's have a good actress, good-bye, not bad," and we go home and we eat. What I am dealing with is the effects, the perception, and the subsidiary effects of my work as proposals, as an open field, so that you can get there things you always wanted to feel and maybe didn't know how to express, imagine, watch, observe, whatever. This is so far away from the strong screenplay, the beautiful movie, etc., that sometimes I don't know what I should discuss. You understand, this is really fighting for that 'Seventh Art' which is making films.'” — Agnès Varda.
Varda by Agnès is Not Rated (NR).
The Final Film by Agnès Varda
Starring Agnès Varda, Sandrine Bonnaire, Hervé Chandès, Nurith Aviv, and Esther Levesque.
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