The late, great French filmmaking icon’s swansong is a magical self-reflection on art, movies, invention and Varda’s own lust for life inside and outside of the cinematic frame.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Sitting centre stage, in her ubiquitous AGNES V. director’s chair, one of cinema’s (too) few doyennes reflects on her life’s work. Like many of her films, Agnès Varda’s masterclass – she prefers to call it a ‘causerie’ (a chat) – is a kind of self-portrait, spanning six decades. Strict chronology is not of the essence; instead, with her customary inventiveness, Varda skips from period to theme to subject to memory, liberally employing excerpts from her films as she takes us on a journey which began with stills photography, moved on to filmmaking and, most recently, led her to work as a visual artist, devising installation pieces for major museums and galleries.
Three things drove her: inspiration, creativity, sharing. And the belief that “nothing is banal if we have empathy and love the people we film, if we find people extraordinary.” Inspired and inspirational, she was; endlessly creative, an early embracer of digital technology, and in this, her final film, again generously sharing her vision and passions. For, “we don’t make films to watch them alone.” Extraordinary, yes. Vive Agnès! — SR
“Agnès Varda’s charming and approachable film… [uses] footage from her speaking at various events, with clips and playfully dramatised reconstructions… looking back over the director’s remarkable life and career… Her energy seems… channelled into a tone of calm and beguiling wisdom: witty, equable, gentle. She is not grandmotherly, but godmotherly, granting wishes and making the business of film-making seem as magically straightforward as writing words on a page.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian