Tag Archives: Agnès Varda

VARDA BY AGNÈS

Three words are important to me: inspiration, creation, and sharing… I don’t care if my films make money. I care that my films are seen and are loved. Agnès Varda

“My mother was very funny—left wing but not politically correct. We traveled a lot together. She was so curious and she loved gossip. Qui baise qui?

“Agnès was 89 when we started VARDA BY AGNÈS. She had lung cancer and we could only work three hours a day. This film was so difficult, going from the editing room to the hospital to the editing room…

“My mother would say, Don’t complain too much. Do it. We work hard, but it should look easy. We should not show the ‘work.’ Rosalie Varda, Agnès’ daughter and a co-producer of VARDA BY AGNÈS, in conversation with Ava DuVernay*

Agnès Varda didn’t like or use the word “master” to refer to herself or her work—what she called her cinéma écriture—but VARDA BY AGNÈS, her final film, is undeniably a master class in cinema, and a “characteristically playful, profound, and personal summation of the director’s own brilliant career.”

Now playing at the Aero Theatre, these American Cinematheque screenings of VARDA BY AGNÈS will be introduced by a variety of guests, including Illeana Douglas, Julie Delpy, Chloe King, Lisa Blok-Linson, Lynne Littman, Jim McBride, and Peter Debruge. See link below for details.

Later this month, VARDA BY AGNÈS opens at the Laemmle Glendaleand Playhouse.

VARDA BY AGNÈS

Through December 11.

Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.

From December 20:

Glendale

207 North Maryland Avenue, Glendale.

Saturday and Sunday, December 21 and 22, 10:10 am.

Playhouse

673 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.

*Rosalie Varda and Ava DuVernay in conversation, Array 360° Film Series, November 2, 2019, Array Campus, Los Angeles.

From top: Agnès Varda on the set of Uncle Yanco (1967); Varda, behind camera, shooting her first feature La Pointe court (1955); Silvia Monfort and Philippe Noiret in La Pointe court; Alain Resnais and Varda editing the film; Corinne Marchand, Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962); Le Bonheur (1965); Varda, Visages Villages (2017), co-directed by Varda and JR; Varda and Jean “Yanco” Varda, Uncle Yanco; Kathleen Cleaver in Black Panthers (1968); James Rado (left), Viva, and Gerome Ragni in Lions Love (…and Lies) (1969); Varda by Agnès (2019) (2); Jeanne Moreau (left), Hanna Schygulla, and Michel Piccoli (as Simon Cinéma) in One Hundred and One Nights (1995); 72nd Festival de Cannes tribute poster, 2019; Varda by Agnès. Images courtesy and © Ciné Tamaris, MK2, Criterion, and Janus Films.

AGNÈS VARDA — MUR MURS

I reuse a couch—this delays its death. I film murals that are ephemeral—maybe they’ll become a little less so.Agnès Varda

MUR MURS—Varda’s 1980 celebration of Los Angeles muralists and their work—screens for one night only at the Aero Theatre.

This American Cinematheque event is co-presented by the French Film and TV Office of the French Consulate. Varda’s son Mathieu Demy will introduce the film.

MUR MURS

Tuesday, November 5, at 7:30 pm.

Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.

Agnès Varda, Mur Murs (1980). Images courtesy and © the filmmaker’s estate and Ciné-Tamaris.

JACQUES DEMY — MODEL SHOP

MODEL SHOP opens on a rough patch of Venice Beach in decay—an ambience its director maintains throughout this essential glimpse of untethered lives and anomie at the end of the sixties.

The first and last American film directed by Jacques Demy, MODEL SHOP stars Gary Lockwood and Anouk Aimée as two Los Angeles drifters. Agnès Varda made the trip over from France with Demy to scout locations for her own California story, Lions Love (… and Lies).

MODEL SHOP and THEY CAME TO ROB LAS VEGAS

Tuesday, June 18, at 7:30 pm.

New Beverly Cinema

7165 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles.

From top: Anouk Aimée and Gary Lockwood in Model Shop (2); film poster; opening titles shot; Lockwood.

ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ

If Agnès Varda was the mother of the nouvelle vague, Alice Guy-Blaché (1873–1968) was the mother of cinema, period. She was an early viewer of the Lumière brothers shorts and was one of the first filmmakers of either gender to explore the narrative possibilities of the medium—influencing the work of Eisenstein and Hitchcock, to name just two. In addition to directing and producing, she founded and ran Solax Studio out of Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Not that anyone would know these things, considering how her male colleagues in the fledgling industry erased her contributions. Her husband, Herbert Blaché, took credit for Solax, and her boss, Léon Gaumont, failed to acknowledge her in the studio records. Male film historians hardly picked up the slack during Guy-Blaché’s life or since her death.

The new documentary BE NATURAL—THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ—directed by Pamela B. Green and narrated by Jodie Foster—goes a long way toward righting these wrongs, and is screening in downtown Los Angeles through Thursday.

BE NATURAL—THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ

Through May 23.

Downtown Independent

251 South Main Street, Los Angeles.

From top: Alice Guy-Blaché directing Bessie Love in Great Adventure (1918); Guy-Blaché directing My Madonna, with Olga Petrova and John Hass; Alice Guy-Blaché, A Fool and his Money (still), one of the first narrative films to feature an African-American cast; Alice Guy-Blaché, Scarlet Woman (still); Guy-Blaché directing My Madonna; Love (left) and Guy-Blaché. Images courtesy and © Pamela B. Green and Kino Lorber.

AGNÈS

“Each film has its history, its beauty or not beauty, and its meaning.  The meaning can change over the years for people who watch the film, because there is a lot of evolution in the sense of history, the sense of understanding.  But when you speak about 35 millimeter or DCP or video, it’s unimportant. The film is what it is, but what is different are the people who made the film…

“I change.  I wouldn’t do the same film today about Cuba or about the Panthers or about women.  Each film has a date glued to it.  And what we try is to overcome the date and make a meaning that can be more than 1962 or 1961 or whatever.” — Agnès Varda

Varda—mother of the nouvelle vague—was born outside Brussels, made some of her most important films in California, and died this morning at her home in Paris.

Active into her late eighties, local audiences remember many of her recent trips to Los Angeles, presenting retrospectives at the American Cinematheque and LACMA, giving talks at the AFI festival, and receiving a Governor’s Award from the Academy in 2017.

Varda—who directed Cléo de 5 à 7 in Paris in 1961—and her husband Jacques Demy (1931–1990) first came to Los Angeles in 1966, Demy eventually directing Model Shop (1969) and Varda making shorts—Uncle Yanco, Black Panthers—in preparation for her first California feature, the remarkable Lions Love (… and Lies) (also 1969). Varda’s final completed work is the soon-to-be-released documentary Varda par Agnès.

From top: Agnès Varda on the set of Lions Love (… and Lies); Varda shooting her second feature Cléo de 5 à 7 in Paris in the early 1960s, photograph by Roger Viollet; Anouk Aimée (left), Jacques Demy, and Varda in Los Angeles during the shoot of Demy’s Model Shop; scene from Varda’s Black Panthers (1968), shot in Oakland; Sabine Mamou (right) and Mathieu Demy—Varda and Demy’s son—in Varda’s feature Documenteur (1981), shot in Los Angeles; Venice Beach scene from the documentary Mur Murs (1981); Varda and Jane Birkin on set, Jane B. par Agnès V. (1988), photograph by Jean Ber; Varda in Varda par Agnès (2019). Images courtesy Ciné-Tamaris.