Agnes Varda, a French film director, photographer, and artist who was born in Belgium, is honoured in today’s Doodle. She is mostly credited with starting the New Wave film movement.
Arlette was Varda’s birth name when she was born in Brussels on May 30, 1928. When she was twelve, the family relocated to Sète, France, where she went on to study photography and art history before beginning her career as a photographer for the Théâtre National Populaire and publications.
Varda was inspired by some of her images to create cinematic works, such as La Pointe Courte, her debut film released in 1955, which balanced fiction in the form of a documentary with fiction. Varda kept up her filmmaking. She was liberated from industry limits as a self-taught director who had not studied the movie industry, which allowed her to go against norms and contribute to the French New Wave. The New Wave movement was defined by its support of experimentation over traditional filmmaking conventions. Among the few female New Wave directors was hers.
Varda directed more than 40 films during her extensive career in film, including documentaries, features, and shorts about the complexities of humans. Her most well-known pieces are Vagabond, The Gleaners and I, and Cleo from 5 to 7. She portrayed women’s tales in numerous films and considered herself a feminist. In the 1977 film L’Une chante, l’autre pas, which Varda refers to as a “feminist musical,” she fought for women’s independence. Even outside of her films, she took part in women’s advocacy. Most notably, she and other French women signed the Manifesto of the 343, openly admitting to having had abortions in the past and pushing legislators to make legal the procedure.
In 2003, Varda started playing with video installations as a new medium for her creative endeavours. Her immersive art installations have been shown in Ghent, Beijing, New York, and Paris, among other locations, all over the world.
Varda’s varied career is still valued today because to her films, photographs, artworks, and books. Varda won numerous honours along the way, including an Honorary Oscar for her lifetime achievements in film, a Lumières Award, a César Award for Les Plages d’Agnès (The Beaches of Agnés), a Golden Lion for Sans toit ni loi (Vagabond), and an Oscar nomination for Visages Villages (Faces Places).
Agnès Varda, who represented the real spirit of artistic freedom and creative perseverance, forge her own way by producing her own films. They respect you, Agnès, for remaining authentic. Artists will continue to be inspired by your unique viewpoint for years to come!