Inspiration, creation, sharing. As the late Agnès Varda put it herself, these are the three key tenets of her filmmaking process. Varda’s final film, an encapsulation of her decades-spanning career through the lens of her masterclass seminars, brilliantly distills her ethos into a documentary. Despite being made with clear knowledge of her own mortality, Varda by Agnès never feels like a somber mausoleum for her talents. It’s a living, breathing document that keeps her spirit and creativity accessible as well as present.
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“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.
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The 2009 film Great Directors from doc filmmaker Angela Ismailos is a great introduction to the work, creative philosophies and personalities of ten directors: Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, Agnes Varda, Ken Loach, Todd Haynes, Catherine Breillat, Richard Linklater and John Sayles. The film presents conversations and clips from the work of those filmmakers, and is just the sort of thing to turn new audiences on to films from each of those filmmakers, or, if you’re already a fan of that crew, to bolster your knowledge of each. Watch the full Great Directors documentary below. Read More »