Iconic Belgian-born French filmmaker, Agnès Varda, has died from cancer, aged 90. Hailed as one of the French New Wave’s most influential directors, her early masterpieces like Cleo from 5 to 7 established her as a legend of avant-garde cinema. Boasting an extensive filmography from the 1950’s all the way through until 2017, when she released her documentary, Faces Places. The film earned her the L’Œil d’or award at the Cannes Film Festival and an Oscar nomination.
Other notable works include Vagabond, a feature about the hardships faced by a young woman during her short-lived life, and Le Bonheur, a romantic drama depicting the crash and burn of a Parisian carpenter’s seemingly happy marriage. In addition to the rest of her critically-acclaimed filmography, Varda had directed 23 feature films, as well as a host of other shorts and documentaries. Her final release, from earlier this year, is an auto-biographical series titled Varda by Agnès which was released shortly after she last featured on our website as the cover star of The Gentlewoman’s A/W 2018 issue.
Varda was respected as a fearless feminist director, focusing much of her work – which also includes still photography and art installations – on social issues through which she offered poignant commentary. In 2009 she reminisced: “When I started my first film, there were three women directors in France. Their films were OK, but I was different. It’s like when you start to jump and you put the pole very high – you have to jump very high. I thought, I have to use cinema as a language.”
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