WOMEN BEHIND THE LENS

Agnès Varda

Jesse Szymanski | December 23, 2020

Agnès Varda was a Belgian-born French film director, photographer, screenwriter and artist. Not only was she a pioneer for women in filmmaking, she was instrumental in the development of the widely influential French New Wave film movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Her films had a massive focus on achieving documentary realism while addressing feminist issues - capturing a loud and unapologetic female voice and perspective, as well as other social commentary, with a distinctive experimental style. "In my films I always wanted to make people see deeply. I don't want to show things, but to give people the desire to see." She was ahead of her time in many ways: employing on-location shooting during an era of limitations that favoured only sets and fabricated sound; she favoured the real thing. Her use of non-professional actors was also unconventional in the context of 1950s French cinema.

Her innovation garnered not only industry respect, but also awards: she received an honorary Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, an Academy Honorary Award, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Some of her feature and short films include: Diary of a Pregnant Woman, Along the Coast, The Creatures, Lions Love, Faces Places and The Three Buttons.

"I live in cinema. I feel I've lived here forever." - Agnès Varda

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