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Voilà Varda

MUBI Special

It’s always a good moment to revisit the work of the great Agnès Varda, whose vitality and insight are ever so inspiring. But especially now that the Academy has finally decided to recognise her luminous career, and with her new (wonderful!) film Faces, Places hitting cinemas in early 2018, we look back at some of her most emblematic achievements on screen, all testament to her signature intelligence, playfulness and human touch. And, naturally, her rabid curiosity, always palpable no matter where she is—10,000 km away from home, or at her doorstep.

Uncle Yanco

Agnès Varda France, 1967

In addition to her award-winning features, the great French filmmaker Agnès Varda was an insanely prolific documentarian. Here, she turns the camera on her distant American uncle for a warm short film set “in the aquatic suburbs of San Francisco.”

Le bonheur

Agnès Varda France, 1965

Agnès Varda’s proto-Stepford Wives colour-saturated thought-experiment is a thorough takedown of the construct of the nuclear family: the one-way relationship of a husband and wife and their apparently perfect life together.

Black Panthers

Agnès Varda France, 1968

Master documentarian and cinema activist Agnès Varda took her camera into a hotbed of 60s tension—and emerged with a sober, provocative and historical short film all too relevant today. Filmed during protests against Huey Newton’s trial, Black Panthers witnesses speeches from the movement’s leaders.

Lions Love

Agnès Varda United States, 1969

Long unavailable, the award-winning Lions Love is an epochal look at America in 1968: a meditation on freedom, fantasy, decadence, and the Summer of Love going sour. MUBI is proud to present this elusive 60s cult classic, while paying tribute to our beloved, and greatly missed, Agnès Varda.

The So-called Caryatids

Agnès Varda France, 1984

With her signature voice-over and observational eye, the late Agnès Varda wandered around the streets of Paris to survey caryatids, the female sculptures that ornate the capital’s buildings. With poetry, song, and historical anecdotes, Varda takes us on a delightful and playful architectural walk.

Vagabond

Agnès Varda France, 1985

A classic in Varda’s filmography, this film is as uncompromising in its portrayal of a woman who will not adjust as it is in its daring story structure. Winner of the Golden Lion in Venice, it is both a testimony of the director’s profound humanism and of her critical eye on our social judgments.

Jane B. par Agnès V.

Agnès Varda France, 1988

A woman is variable. Yet can one be more so than Jane Birkin? In this kaleidoscopic film made of various fictions, during various seasons, she plays various parts including her own. Famous under the name of Jane B., she allowed Agnès V. to film her.

Jacquot de Nantes

Agnès Varda France, 1991

Agnès Varda wrote this delicate memoir, set in provincial France of the 1940s and ’50s, about the youth of her lifelong partner and fellow filmmaker Jacques Demy, and his growing vocation for cinema in these years.

The Gleaners & I

Agnès Varda France, 2000

Varda’s rumination on this art of “living off the leftovers of others” finds inspiration in both past and present, rural and urban, the political and the highly personal. Camera in hand, Varda interviews those for whom gleaning is a way of life, or an encompassing philosophy.

The Beaches of Agnès

Agnès Varda France, 2008

Returning to the beaches that have been part of her life, Agnès Varda invents a kind of self-portrait-documentary. Agnès stages herself among excerpts of her films, images and reportages; weaving public and private struggles, loves and friendships, films and people, and the history of French cinema.

Salut les Cubains

Agnès Varda France, 1963

French New Wave “godmother” Agnès Varda’s unique 1963 docu-photo-essay is a playful portrait of the island of Cuba through its people, its music, but more importantly through the reforms of the recent revolution. As much an informative historical document as an inventive and sparkling film.

Cléo from 5 to 7

Agnès Varda France, 1962

The justifiably best known film from the French New Wave’s sole female “member”—she in fact proceeded the movement and exceeded the “brand”—Agnès Varda’s sublime day-in-the-life masterpiece brought an essential female perspective to the streets of Paris too often shot from a male point of view.

Diary of a Pregnant Woman

Agnès Varda France, 1958

This short film is both a whimsical celebration of sensual love and an affectionate portrait of a Paris street. By juxtaposing shots of faces and shop windows with images of an embracing couple, Agnès Varda builds a tender contrast between a personal romance and the collective life of the quarter.

La Pointe Courte

Agnès Varda France, 1955

Made independently, with no backing and no budget, Agnes Varda was just 26 when she wrote & directed this stark, precocious relationship drama, approaching various themes she would later develop further in Le bonheur. An inspiring first impression of a now-legendary filmmaker.

Life is too short for bad films

Every day we hand-pick a beautiful new film and you have a whole month to watch it, so there’s always 30 perfectly curated films to discover.