A new documentary is in the works about the late New Wave cinema figure Agnès Varda (1928-2019). Titled Viva Varda, the film is being created for Mk2 Films by Pierre-Henri Gibert, a French film aficionado who has also made other documentaries, including one about Jacques Audiard.
The new film will be based on archival footage and interviews by other filmmakers, including Atom Egoyan and Audrey Diwan. Gilbet will also be making use of interviews with Varda’s children, Rosalie Varda and Mathieu Demy, as well as with Sandrine Bonnaire, Patricia Mazuy, and Jonathan Romney and other of her colleagues.
Described by Martin Scorsese as “one of the Gods of Cinema,” the Belgian-born Varda received numerous awards for her contributions to the genre, including an Honorary Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. She also was the first woman filmmaker to have received an Honorary Oscar. This fall, the French Cinémathèque will present a special hommage to her life and work.
Varda’s pioneering and experimental work is considered to have had a significant influence on the trajectory of post-WWII French cinema. Besides her subject matter, which focused on women’s issues and socially relevant topics, she employed trailblazing techniques that helped make the New Wave (Nouvelle Vague) an important watershed in the history of cinema.
For example, Varda often shot on location, a technique that was not often used because of the limitations of sound technology at the time. She also employed non-professional actors, which was also a breakthrough strategy in the 1950s.
Varda made her film debut in 1955 with La Pointe Courte, followed by Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962), Vagabond (1985) and Kung Fu Master (1988). Her documentaries include Black Panthers (1968), The Gleaners and I (2000), and Faces Places (2017). Her last film, Varda par Agnès, was a documentary she directed about her own life and work.
Check out more of Edward’s articles.