agnes varda dead

“I live in cinema. I feel I’ve lived here forever.” As both director and subject, Agnes Varda is inseparable from the feature films and documentaries that she has made. The French New Wave pioneer became just as known for her dual-toned bowl-cut hairstyle and lively spirit as she did for her game-changing films such as La Pointe Court, Cleo from 5 to 7, and The Gleaners and I. And it’s in those films that she’ll be forever remembered following her death this Friday from breast cancer. She was 90 years old.

Agnes Varda died from breast cancer at her Paris home at the age of 90, her family confirmed in a statement released Friday. “The filmmaker and artist Agnes Varda died from a cancer at her home in the night of March 29, 2019, surrounded by her family and friends,” the family’s statement said, describing her as a “joyful feminist” and “passionate artist,” according to Variety.

Varda was directing up until her death, just last month presenting her latest film Varda by Agnes at the Berlin Film Festival and receiving the honorary Berlinale Camera award, the latest trophy in her vast collection that includes an honorary Oscar and an honorary Palme D’Or. But as she fell to ill health, Varda canceled the masterclass she was scheduled to deliver in Qatar earlier this month.

Born in Brussels on May 30, 1928, Varda didn’t pick up a camera until 1955 with the release of La Pointe Courte, her debut feature film and what many consider to be a key precursor to the French New Wave movement. The film’s meandering narrative that verged on documentary-like style influenced New Wave directors including Alain Resnais, who later directed Hiroshima Mon Amour and Last Year at Marienbad.

Varda’s standing would only grow stronger with subsequent films such as Cleo From 5 to 7, Vagabond, and Jane B. by Agnes V, with Cleo From 5 to 7 in particular emerging as a time-honored classic. Through the groundbreaking French New Wave movement, Varda remained the only female director, with her name frequently mentioned in the same space as François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard. Varda continued to make films regularly over the next few decades, including the classic documentary The Gleaners and I in 2000 and 2017’s Faces Places, which earned Varda her first nomination for a competitive Oscar.

In 1962, Varda married fellow filmmaker Jacques Demy (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) until his death in 1990. Demy became the subject of two of her documentaries following his passing, including 1991’s Jacquot de Nantes and 1995’s The World of Jacques Demy. She’s survived by her children Mathieu Demy and Rosalie Varda.

Where to Stream Agnes Varda’s Films

Never seen an Agnes Varda film? Here’s where to start streaming the films now:

  • Cleo from 5 to 7 – Kanopy
  • Faces Places – Netflix, Kanopy
  • Kung Fu Master! – Kanopy, Fandor
  • Jane B. By Agnes V. – Kanopy, Fandor
  • Daguerrotypes – Fandor
  • You’ve Got Beautiful Stairs, You Know… – Fandor
  • The Beaches of Agnes – Kanopy, Fandor
  • Cinevardaphoto – Kanopy
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