Friday, June 17, 2016

A Guide to Agnes Varda's Films

Saw my last post and wondered who Agnes Varda is? Or you only saw her French New Wave film Cleo from 5 to 7 and wondered what else she's madeDon't worry, I'm here to help. This past Spring I took a class dedicated to Varda, so I've learned a lot about the 88-year-old French director. What I love about Varda is that she isn't a film buff, not seeing that many films, yet she knows how to make a really good film. Varda has a bold personality and doesn't hold back showing it in her films, which makes her films so unique and fun to watch. Not only is Varda one of my favorite directors, but I believe she is a very influential female artist who has been directing for more than 6 decades that belongs in the spotlight. 

The Essentials 

Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)

Varda was the only female director that made it big in French New Wave and it isn't ironic that her film is my favorite from the movement. Unlike most FNW films that are arrogant with it's editing and existentialism, the film tracks Cleo in real time (not actually 5 to 7, but 5 to 6:30) trying to cope with the news that she has cancer. As the hour and a half goes by, the pop star switches from constantly feeling as if she is being looked at, to looking at her surroundings, gaining a new perspective on life. In my opinion, this film is more deep in terms of the story compared to other FNW films and is a good start into Varda's film collection.

The Gleaners and I (2000)

A great start to understanding Varda's new style of filmmaking. Not only is the documentary very interesting, asking questions regarding France's contemporary hunger issues, but the viewers get a glimpse of who Varda is. With random little clips showing Varda's quirky personality, one can't help but to admire the director. Whether you know who Varda is or not, I highly recommend it as a documentary.

La Point Courte (1955)

Though I would not say I like this film, it is essential for film lovers. This is Varda's first film and ironically before filming this, Varda only saw 3 films in her life. Starting off as a photographer, Varda decided to make a type of film that she wanted to see. Taking place in one of the town's she grew up in, Varda switches the narrative between a Parisian couple in the process of breaking up, contrasting them with the local Sete neighbors living their daily lives. The film has a beautiful contrast in stories, as well as the film's images being very photogenic, making the film a must-see.

Mur Murs (1981)

One of the films Varda did in the States. While accompanying her late husband Jacques Demy in California as he directed a film himself, Varda stumbled upon lots of murals and decided to make a documentary about it. From advertisement to painful painting regarding violence, Varda films these murals and talks about the meaning behind them. Varda's presence isn't that noticeable in this one, but still a solid documentary that is worth watching, 

From Here to There (2014)

A travel video diary of Varda giving her viewers a glimpse of her personality, the artists and people she encounters, making it a fun travel diary to watch. The documentary is parted into five episodes. I wasn't a fan of the last two episodes, but if you end up liking Varda's documentaries, I highly suggest watching From Here to There.

The Beaches of Agnes (2008)

If you have seen a decent amount of Varda's films and enjoyed them, this is essential. Varda makes a feature/documentary about herself and the things that have influenced her work, an autobiography in film form. A must if you want to get to know the director better. 

No comments:

Post a Comment