FILM: Varda by Agnès

There are a number of retrospective biography films about filmmakers and artists but you’ll find few created by the subject themselves and even fewer which bring such a creative approach as Varda by Agnès by the Freanch filmmaker Agnès Varda. Agnès, who passed away in March 2019 was in her 90s when the film was created and approached the documentary with the same whimsical sense of storytelling that was seen in many of her best films such as Cléo from 5 to 7 and 2017’s Faces Places with photographer JR.

The film looks back at her life’s work and her motivations for creating the films as well as her marriage to filmmaker Jacques Demy, who was a fellow French Nouvelle Vague icon.  Some of the most moving moments occur as she reflects on her own mortality and her evolution into a visual artist and photographer and especially as the age of digital filmmaking changed her process. The film also offers interesting insight into her feminist activism and how it’s reflected in her films, an aspect which seems all the more relevant today.

The film is a must see for any film lover and it gives a terrific look into her process in an entertaining and informative way.  Even if you have never heard of Agnès Varda, the film is a great introduction to her work that will leave you wanting more.

You can see Varda by Agnès at Film at Lincoln Center as part of the Varda: A Retrospective through January 6th. For tickets, please visit https://www.filmlinc.org/films/varda-by-agnes/.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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