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Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda

Known For: Directing · Birthday: 1928-05-30

64 Movies · 2 TV Series

Biography

Agnès Varda (French: [aɲɛs vaʁda]; 30 May 1928 – 29 March 2019) was a Belgian-born French film director, screenwriter, photographer, and artist. Her work was pioneering for, and central to, the development of the widely influential French New Wave film movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Her films focused on achieving documentary realism, addressing feminist issues, and producing other social commentary, with a distinctive experimental style. Varda's work employed location shooting in an era when the limitations of sound technology made it easier and more common to film indoors, with constructed sets and painted backdrops of landscapes, rather than outdoors, on location. Her use of non-professional actors was also unconventional for 1950s French cinema. Among several other awards and nominations, Varda received an honorary Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, an Academy Honorary Award, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Personal Life

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 (who starred in her early film Cléo from 5 to 7), and a son, Mathieu Demy (born 1972), with Demy. Demy legally adopted Rosalie Varda. Varda worked on the Oscar-nominated documentary Faces Places with her daughter.In 1971, Varda was one of the 343 women who signed the Manifesto of the 343 admitting they had had an abortion despite it being illegal in France at the time and asking for abortions to be made legal.Varda was the cousin of the painter Jean Varda. In 1967, while living in California, Varda met her father's cousin for the first time. He is the subject of her short documentary Uncle Yanco, named after Jean Varda who referred to himself as Yanco and was affectionately called "uncle" by Varda due to the difference in age between them.Varda died from cancer on 29 March 2019 in Paris, at the age of 90. She was buried at Montparnasse Cemetery on 2 April. Among those who attended her funeral were Catherine Deneuve, Julie Gayet, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jane Birkin, and Sandrine Bonnaire.

Early Life

Varda was born Arlette Varda on 30 May 1928 in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium, to Christiane (née Pasquet) and Eugène Jean Varda, an engineer. Her mother was from Sète, France, and her father was a member of a family of Greek refugees from Asia Minor. She was the third of five children. Varda legally changed her first name to Agnès at age 18. During World War II, she lived on a boat in Sète with the rest of her family. Varda attended the Lycée et collège Victor-Duruy, and received a bachelor's degree in literature and psychology from the Sorbonne. She described her relocation to Paris as a "truly excruciating" one that gave her "a frightful memory of my arrival in this grey, inhumane, sad city." She did not get along with her fellow students and described classes at the Sorbonne as "stupid, antiquated, abstract, [and] scandalously unsuited for the lofty needs one had at that age."

Movies & TV Series

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