Varda by Agnès (2019)

In Varda by Agnès, her last film, iconic film director and feminist Agnès Varda looks back on her ground-breaking, long career at the age of 90.

A Reel Life

by Alexa Dalby

Varda by Agnès

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Varda by Agnès is the director’s explanation of her long life’s work, made shortly before her death earlier this year – “This is my talk.”

She illustrates her ‘lecture’ with clips from her films, videos of her art installations and interviews with one of her stars – Sandrine Bonnaire – and recent collaborator JR.

Like its subject, the film is totally charming as it explains Varda’s filmmaking philosophy. Like her films, it’s imbued with a deep interest and respect for the extraordinariness of ordinary people and an original, observant, witty, playful way of looking at the world. It is a fascinating insight into her own personal creativity and in how to be a filmmaker.

“I try to understand the process of creating. It’s not only technical, I try to be spontaneous. The process is how you can find the right images, the right words, following instinct. I really try to follow a filmic instinct… In the 20th century I was mostly a filmmaker and in the 21st century, I am an artist…”

“I just wanted to look at people and share.”


Varda by Agnès is released on 19 July 2019. It premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. In May 2018, Agnés Varda received an honorary Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. She died on 29 March 2019 in Paris.

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