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Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

Agnès Varda (May 30th, 1928 – March 29th, 2019) was a Belgian-born French film director, screenwriter, photographer, and artist.

Varda died from cancer on 29 March 2019 in Paris, at the age of 90.

In 1958, while living in Paris, Varda met her future husband, Jacques Demy, also a French director. They moved in together in 1959. She was married to Demy from 1962 until his death in 1990. Varda had two children: a daughter, Rosalie Varda (born 1958), from a previous union with actor Antoine Bourseiller, and a son, Mathieu Demy (born 1972), with Demy.



"If we opened people up, we’d find landscapes."


A founder of the French New Wave who became an international art-house icon, Agnès Varda was a fiercely independent, restlessly curious visionary whose work was at once personal and passionately committed to the world around her. In an abundant career in which she never stopped expanding the notion of what a movie can be, Varda forged a unique cinematic vocabulary that frequently blurs the boundaries between narrative and documentary, and entwines loving portraits of her friends, her family, and her own inner world with a social consciousness that was closely attuned to the 1960s counterculture, the women’s liberation movement, the plight of the poor and socially marginalized, and the ecology of our planet. (from Criterion's website)

While working as a photographer, Varda became interested in making a film, although she stated that she knew little about the medium and had only seen around twenty films by the age of twenty-five. She later said that she wrote her first screenplay "just the way a person writes his first book. When I'd finished writing it, I thought to myself: 'I'd like to shoot that script,' and so some friends and I formed a cooperative to make it." She found the filmmaking process difficult because it did not allow the same freedom as writing a novel; however she said that her approach was instinctive and feminine. In an interview with The Believer, Varda stated that she wanted to make films that related to her time (in reference to La Pointe Courte), rather than focusing on traditions or classical standards.

In 1977, Varda founded her own production company, Cine-Tamaris, in order to have more control over shooting and editing.



"To share a lot of ideas - not ideas - emotions, a way of looking at people, a way of looking at life. If it can be shared, it means there is a common denominator."


Like many other French New Wave directors, Varda was likely influenced by auteur theory, creating her own signature style by using the camera "as a pen." Varda described her method of filmmaking as "cinécriture" ("cinematic writing" or "writing on film"). Rather than separating the fundamental roles that contribute to a film (such as cinematographer, screenwriter, and director), Varda believed that all roles should be working together simultaneously to create a more cohesive film, and all elements of the film should contribute to its message. She claimed to make most of her discoveries while editing, seeking the opportunity to find images or dialogue that create a motif.

Because of her photographic background, still images are often significant in her films. Still images may serve symbolic or narrative purposes, and each element of them is important. There is sometimes conflict between still and moving images in her films, and she often mixed still images (snapshots) with moving images. Varda paid very close attention to detail and was highly conscious of the implications of each cinematic choice she made. Elements of the film are rarely just functional, each element has its own implications, both on its own and that it lends to the entire film's message.

Varda's work is often considered feminist because of her use of female protagonists and her creation of a female cinematic voice. Varda is quoted as having said, "I'm not at all a theoretician of feminism, I did all that—my photos, my craft, my film, my life—on my terms, my own terms, and not to do it like a man." Although she was not actively involved in any strict agendas of the feminist movement, Varda often focused on women's issues thematically and never tried to change her craft to make it more conventional or masculine.

Historically, Varda is seen as the New Wave's mother. Film critic Delphine Bénézet has argued for Varda's importance as "au feminin singulier," a woman of singularity and of the utmost importance in film history. Varda embraced her femininity with distinct boldness.

Many of her influences were artistic or literary, including Surrealism, William Faulkner, Franz Kafka, and Nathalie Sarraute.



"Humor is such a strong weapon, such a strong answer. Women have to make jokes about themselves, laugh about themselves, because they have nothing to lose."

On August 11th, 2020, the Criterion Collection released The Complete Films of Agnès Varda.

This comprehensive collection places Varda’s filmography in the context of her parallel work as a photographer and multimedia artist—all of it a testament to the radical vision, boundless imagination, and radiant spirit of a true original for whom every act of creation was a vital expression of her very being. (per Criterion)

You can look into the details of the collection on Criterion's website.

Most of her films are readily available to stream on The Criterion Channel as well.




This thread is a place to discuss Agnes Varda's career and films. With the release of the box set, I hope that the cinephile goons of CineD will want to talk about the films as they go through the films and essays.

I haven't seen any of Varda's films, myself, which is why all of this information was copy/pasted from other sources. So, like others, I will be going through the box's contents for the first time. I'm excited to talk about her films with everyone.

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 14:04 on Oct 28, 2020

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Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

Agnes Varda's Filmography

Feature Length Films

1955 | La Pointe Courte
1962 | Cléo de 5 à 7 , or, Cléo from 5 to 7
1965 | Le Bonheur
1966 | Les Créatures , or, The Creatures
1967 | Loin du Vietnam , or, Far from Vietnam
1969 | Lions Love
1975 | Daguerréotypes
1977 | L'Une chante, l'autre pas , or, One Sings, the Other Doesn't
1981 | Mur Murs , or Mural Murals
1981 | Documenteur , or Documenteur
1985 | Sans toit ni loi , or Vagabond
1988 | Jane B. par Agnes V , or Jane B. by Agnes V.
1987 | Le petit amour , or Kung Fu Master
1991 | Jacquot de Nantes or Jacquot
1993 | Les demoiselles ont eu 25 ans , or The Young Girls Turn 25
1994 | Les Cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma , or A Hundred and One Nights
1995 | L'univers de Jacques Demy , or The World of Jacques Demy
2000 | Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse , or The Gleaners and I
2002 | Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse... deux ans après , or The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later
2004 | Cinévardaphoto , or Cinévardaphoto
2006 | Quelques veuves de Noirmoutier , or Some Widows of Noirmoutier
2008 | Les plages d'Agnès , or The Beaches of Agnès
2017 | Visages Villages , or Faces Places
2019 | Varda par Agnès , or Varda by Agnès


Short Films

1958 | L'opéra-mouffe or Diary of a Pregnant Woman
1958 | La cocotte d'azur
1958 | Du côté de la côte or Along the Coast
1958 | Ô saisons, ô châteaux -
1961 | Les fiancés du pont MacDonald (Méfiez-vous des lunettes noires)
1963 | Salut les cubains
1965 | Elsa la rose
1967 | Oncle Yanco or Uncle Yanco
1968 | Black Panthers
1975 | Réponse de femmes: Notre corps, notre sexe or Women Reply
1976 | Plaisir d'amour en Iran
1984 | Les dites cariatides or The So-Called Caryatids
1984 | 7p. cuis., s. de b., ... à saisir
1986 | T'as de beaux escaliers, tu sais or You've Got Beautiful Stairs, You Know
1982 | Ulysse or Ulysse
2003 | Le lion volatil
2004 | Ydessa, les ours et etc. or Ydessa, the Bears and etc.
2004 | Viennale Walzer or Vienna International Film Festival 2004 - Trailer
2005 | Les dites cariatides bis
2005 | Cléo de 5 à 7: souvenirs et anecdotes or Cléo from 5 to 7: Remembrances and Anecdotes Director
2015 | Les 3 Boutons or The Three Buttons


Works for Television

1970 | Nausicaa (TV movie)
1983 | Une minute pour une image (TV documentary)
2010 | "The Beaches of Agnès" - P.O.V., episode 3, season 23,
2011 | Agnès de ci de là Varda (5 episodes)

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 14:17 on Oct 28, 2020

Jenny Agutter
Mar 18, 2009



ive only seen faces places but its lovely

Twin Cinema
Jun 1, 2006



Playoffs are no big deal,
don't have a crap attack.


I have only seen Cleo from 5 to 7, and it may be my favourite of the French New Wave films that I have seen (although, I really love 400 Blows). I am interested in watching more of her films. Looks like Happiness should be my next step.

I have also really wanted to see her documentary on the making-of the Young Girls of Rochefort.

I have recently gotten the Criterion Channel again, so I really have no excuses.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

I'm going to do a linear progression through the Agnes Varda Box set starting in November. It has a pretty interesting presentation of the films.

1. Agnès Forever – “Varda by Agnès” (2019), “Les 3 boutons” (2015)

2. Early Varda – “La Pointe Courte” (1955), “Ô saisons, ô châteaux” (1958), “Du côté de la côte” (1958)

3. Around Paris – “Cléo From 5 to 7” (1962), “Les fiancés du pont Macdonald” (1962), “L’opéra-mouffe” (1958), “Les dites cariatides” (1984), “T’as de beaux escaliers, tu sais” (1986)

4. Rue Daguerre – “Daguerréotypes” (1975), “Le lion volatil” (2003)

5. Married Life – “Le bonheur” (1965), “Les créatures” (1966), “Elsa la Rose” (1966)

6. In California – “Uncle Yanco” (1968), “Black Panthers” (1970), “Lions Love (…and Lies)” (1969), “Mur Murs” (1981), “Documenteur” (1981)

7. Her Body, Herself – “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t” (1977), “Réponse de femmes” (1975), “Plaisir d’amour en Iran” (1977)

8. No Shelter – “Vagabond” (1985), “7 p., cuis., s. de b… (à saisir)” (1985)

9. Jane B. – “Jane B. par Agnès V.” (1988), “Kung-Fu Master!” (1988)

10. Jacques Demy – “Jacquot de Nantes” (1991), “The Young Girls Turn 25” (1993), “The World of Jacques Demy” (1995)

11. Simon Cinéma – “One Hundred and One Nights” (1995)

12. La glaneuse – “The Gleaners and I” (2000), “The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later” (2002)

13. Visual Artist – “Faces Places,” co-directed with JR (2017), “Salut les cubains” (1964), “Ulysse” (1982), “Ydessa, les ours et etc…” (2004)

14. Here and There – “Agnès de ci de là Varda” (2011)

15. Beaches – “The Beaches of Agnès” (2008)


I'm always tempted to watch a director's filmography from earliest to latest, but I'm willing to go on this weird journey that someone at Criterion curated.

Twin Cinema
Jun 1, 2006



Playoffs are no big deal,
don't have a crap attack.


I am tempted to go earliest to latest, but depending on the director, I can get burned out on their early films. For me, I just go with their most popular (or highest rated), and then go from there. I find doing it this way gives me a deeper appreciation of their older films, because I can see elements of what they are doing that they did better in their later work.

However, that is an interesting presentation of the films. In my Bergman set, I am pretty sure they just presented his films chronologically.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

Twin Cinema posted:

I am tempted to go earliest to latest, but depending on the director, I can get burned out on their early films. For me, I just go with their most popular (or highest rated), and then go from there. I find doing it this way gives me a deeper appreciation of their older films, because I can see elements of what they are doing that they did better in their later work.

However, that is an interesting presentation of the films. In my Bergman set, I am pretty sure they just presented his films chronologically.

No, the Bergman set did something similar, with the idea that it was a "Bergman film festival", so there are headliners, double features, themed nights, and stuff like that.

Twin Cinema
Jun 1, 2006



Playoffs are no big deal,
don't have a crap attack.


Franchescanado posted:

No, the Bergman set did something similar, with the idea that it was a "Bergman film festival", so there are headliners, double features, themed nights, and stuff like that.

This is my way of saying that I purchased it and watched exactly one film and one episode of "Scenes".

Magic Hate Ball
May 6, 2007

ha ha ha!
you've already paid for this


I ctrl-f'd for it and I don't see anyone talking about Hommage d'Zgougou, so it is my duty to present it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cggCfxMEMQ

"Bernard still accepts this" is one of those quotes that I wish was famous because I think about it all the time.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

Magic Hate Ball posted:

I ctrl-f'd for it and I don't see anyone talking about Hommage d'Zgougou, so it is my duty to present it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cggCfxMEMQ

"Bernard still accepts this" is one of those quotes that I wish was famous because I think about it all the time.

This is adorable.

Twin Cinema
Jun 1, 2006



Playoffs are no big deal,
don't have a crap attack.


I watched "One Sings..." last night, and I am in awe. Just a completely unique film -- it's unlike anything I have seen. It starts with suicide, poverty, and abortion, in a naturalistic way, but the film never feels overly heavy. Sure, the topics are heavy, but the film seems to not present anything as a conflict in the typical way. Instead, it's more of a meditation on the joyousness of friendship.

On a side note, I realize the French, especially in the 70s, were a much different culture. But I was shocked to see full-frontal from the lead actress portraying a 17-year old girl. Also, a bath scene with the teenaged daughter. All of these scenes were shot in a naturalistic way, but it just shows how removed I am from that culture.

Heavy_D
Feb 16, 2002

"rararararara" contains the meaning of everything, kept in simple rectangular structures

Twin Cinema posted:

I watched "One Sings..." last night, and I am in awe. Just a completely unique film -- it's unlike anything I have seen. It starts with suicide, poverty, and abortion, in a naturalistic way, but the film never feels overly heavy. Sure, the topics are heavy, but the film seems to not present anything as a conflict in the typical way. Instead, it's more of a meditation on the joyousness of friendship.
Wanted to echo this. The local arthouse ran a mini-season of Varda last year and I saw this, Cleo from 5 to 7 and Vagabond. The latter two are renowned as brilliant (and rightly so), but I really think One Sings... is as well. Who else would make a musical about the fight for reproductive health rights and pull it off?

Speaking of Vagabond, there was a great segment in Varda by Agnès where she explained how much thought went into the tracking shots that separate the vigenettes. The shots all move from right to left, opposite to reading direction, to make it like Mona is swimming against the current. Also there's a focal point at the end of one shot which then appears at the start of the next one to join up the journey.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3E99QTez40

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

I watched Varda by Agnes yesterday.

I was wary about watching a final film as a first introduction by the artist, but it's such a casual and insightful portrait of her many projects. Her career is fascinating and inspiring. I love that she sets aside formalities of cinema, and really many aspects of creative fields, to instead express her intentions and inspirations.

I loved the blend of academic presentation with playful cinematic documentary moments (like the tracking shot scene). It always feels personal, like she's directly addressing the viewer, which was charming and reassuring.

What a life! What a career! What a woman! I can't wait to dig into her films more.

gey muckle mowser
Aug 5, 2003

Do you know anything about...
witches?





Buglord

Twin Cinema posted:

I have only seen Cleo from 5 to 7, and it may be my favourite of the French New Wave films that I have seen (although, I really love 400 Blows). I am interested in watching more of her films. Looks like Happiness should be my next step.

Same, I'm generally not real into French New Wave but I watched Cleo from 5 to 7 a couple months ago and I loved it.

Twin Cinema
Jun 1, 2006



Playoffs are no big deal,
don't have a crap attack.


Franchescanado posted:

I watched Varda by Agnes yesterday.

I was wary about watching a final film as a first introduction by the artist, but it's such a casual and insightful portrait of her many projects. Her career is fascinating and inspiring. I love that she sets aside formalities of cinema, and really many aspects of creative fields, to instead express her intentions and inspirations.

I loved the blend of academic presentation with playful cinematic documentary moments (like the tracking shot scene). It always feels personal, like she's directly addressing the viewer, which was charming and reassuring.

What a life! What a career! What a woman! I can't wait to dig into her films more.

Would you recommend watching this next? Or, do you think I should follow my current path of watching the highest rated films?

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

Twin Cinema posted:

Would you recommend watching this next? Or, do you think I should follow my current path of watching the highest rated films?

I don't see why not. It doesn't really spoil any of her works, if that's possible, and it provides a lot of context to them, and her as an artist, including visual arts, installations, and photography. It's maybe a little long, if only because I was ready to start watching her films

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Twin Cinema
Jun 1, 2006



Playoffs are no big deal,
don't have a crap attack.


Franchescanado posted:

I watched Varda by Agnes yesterday.

I was wary about watching a final film as a first introduction by the artist, but it's such a casual and insightful portrait of her many projects. Her career is fascinating and inspiring. I love that she sets aside formalities of cinema, and really many aspects of creative fields, to instead express her intentions and inspirations.

I loved the blend of academic presentation with playful cinematic documentary moments (like the tracking shot scene). It always feels personal, like she's directly addressing the viewer, which was charming and reassuring.

What a life! What a career! What a woman! I can't wait to dig into her films more.

Watched this last night, and I was most struck by the joy of humanity present in so much of her work.

Also, it just made me really want to hang out with her. The art installation/grave for her cat was the sweetest thing -- especially when the shot of the young girl who came back without her friends to be able to experience it.

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