Agnès Varda has been called the “Grandmother of the New Wave,” a well-meaning if curious tribute for a woman who directed her first feature film at the age of 26. Born in Brussels, Varda studied literature and psychology at the Sorbonne, and art history at the École du Louvre. She’d originally wanted to be a museum curator, but a night-school course in photography changed her mind. Rapidly establishing herself as a top-rank still photographer, Varda became the official cameraperson for the Theatre Festival of Avignon and the Theatre National Populaire, and then pursued a career as a photojournalist.
Encouraged by filmmaker Alain Resnais, Varda made her movie directorial bow in 1955 with La Pointe Courte. She based the film on a William Faulkner short story, to which she was attracted because of its parallel plotlines (a recurring device in her later films). That same year, she accompanied another future New Wave director, Chris Marker, to China as visual advisor for his Dimanche… read more
I am a fan of Agnès Varda's films "Cleo from 5 to 7" - "The Gleaners & I" and "The Vagabond" - that said, there are too many films I have not seen. I had the opportunity a couple of years ago of hearing Miss Varda after the screening of her "The Beaches of Agnès" at the Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The film was fun but a bit light-weight. . . unfortunately the director wasa bit evasive in her answers to audience questions and came across a bit vain and humorless . . . however, her installation - "Quelques veuves de noirmoutier" - in the Carpenter Center at Harvard University was stunning and provocative.
I hate how people use her quote as an excuse to not seek out women filmmakers and every conversation centered on women's filmmakers it gets brought out to trivialize the exercise of bringing more women to the forefront of film discussions.