"I had an idea that I could make a film that was words, music, images and movement – I thought, that will be art."
Agnès Varda, who has sadly passed away at the age of 90, may have born the intimidating title of ‘grandmother of the French New Wave’, and been lauded as a pioneering member of the Left Bank, but her work is surprisingly accessible. She was an endlessly curious filmmaker whose interest in the margins of society and female subjectivity, together with her vocational background in photography, resulted in a playful and fiercely political body of work.
Discovery, provocation and striving to reach an understanding of society and humanity are all hallmarks of her films, yet Varda refused to idly sit in one genre or stick to one style. Over the course of her more than 60-year career, she effortlessly switched between feature-length fiction, documentary and shorts. Her work could be self-reflexive, referencing the deeply personal, but there’s also rich historical detail embedded in her hugely empathetic and mischievous films.
The BFI was delighted to host a major two month retrospective of Varda's films in June 2018, which included an unforgattable visit from the woman herself. Browse her back catalogue here.