There have always been stirring self-reflexive elements in the disarmingly radical cinema of Agnès Varda’s – be it in her championing of leftist politics and feminism, or subverting the conventional form of documentaries by permeating them with her memories, opinions and experiences. Therefore, while watching Varda by Agnès, a charming retrospective – a “Greatest Hits”, if you will – on her fascinating journey as a filmmaker, one can’t really think of anyone more suitable than Agnès herself to make this; it was a trgic irony that she passed away just a month or so after completing it. Compiled from a mix of lectures and interactions; laced with her customary humour and irreverence; and interspersed with delightful quips, anecdotes, reflections and reminiscences, this takes one on a whirlwind tour through her pioneering filmography through nicely established thematic linkages (some intended, others post facto), covering her fiction features (La Pointe Courte, Cléo from 5 to 7, Le Bonheur, One Sings the Other Doesn’t, Documenteur, Vagabond, Kung Fu Master, A Hundred and One Nights, etc.), docufictions (Jane B. by Agnès V., etc.), memoirs and diary films (Jacquot de Nantes, The Beaches of Agnès, etc.), documentaries (Daguerréotypes, Mur Murs, The Gleaners and I, Faces Places, etc.) and short films (Diary of a Pregnant Woman, Salut les Cubains, Uncle Yanco, Black Panthers, etc.). Along with her views on filmmaking, her effortless transition to digital, and her participation in the fight for women’s rights, she also lovingly speaks about her late husband Jacques Demy, her key companions and milestones in her journey, her passion for photography and love for paintings, her tryst with experimental audiovisual forms (Some Widows of Noirmoutier, etc,) and, of course, idiosyncracies, mortality and legacy.
Director: Agnes Varda