By T. Jefferson Kline
Over approximately sixty years, Agnès Varda (b. 1928) has given interviews which are revealing not just of her paintings, yet of her remarkably ambiguous prestige. She has been known as the “Mother of the recent Wave” yet suffered for a few years for by no means having been thoroughly approved by means of the cinematic institution in France. Varda’s first movie, La Pointe Courte (1954), displayed a number of the features of the 2 later movies that introduced the recent Wave, Truffaut’s 400 Blows and Godard’s Breathless. In a most economical movie, utilizing (as but) unknown actors and dealing totally outdoors the present studio method, Varda thoroughly deserted the “tradition of caliber” that Truffaut was once at that very time condemning within the pages of Cahiers du cinema. Her paintings, besides the fact that, used to be now not “discovered” until eventually after Truffaut and Godard had damaged onto the scene in 1959. Varda’s subsequent movie, Cleo from five to 7, attracted significantly extra cognizance and was once chosen as France’s professional access for the competition in Cannes. finally, although, this movie and her paintings for the subsequent fifty years persevered to be overshadowed through her extra well-known male buddies, a lot of whom she mentored and advised.
Her motion pictures have eventually earned acceptance as deeply probing and primary to the starting to be information in France of women’s matters and the function of ladies within the cinema. “I’m now not philosophical,” she says, “not metaphysical. emotions are the floor on which individuals will be resulted in take into consideration issues. i attempt to exhibit every little thing that occurs in this kind of approach and ask questions with a purpose to depart the audience loose to make their very own judgments.” The panoply of interviews right here emphasize her center trust that “we by no means cease studying” and display the wealth of the way to reply to her questions.
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Additional info for Agnès Varda: Interviews
Those are the kind of filmgoers who like to get inside the film. I felt this danger already when I began filming La Pointe Courte. You always have to be with your characters and, simultaneously, judge them. PU: Would you like to move toward musical film, something like musical comedy or opera? Something very lyrical? AV: I don’t think so. I like reality too much. La Mélangite, for example, is very realistic; the domain of thought is always linked to the visual, and the character’s thoughts in La Mélangite make up a museum of images.
14 agnès varda: inter views PU: Will La Mélangite be filmed in color? AV: Yes, and that’s why I have had such a hard time making the film. I’ve already shot the prelude which is a kind of documentary on the youth of the main character and which would take place in the first part of the program, before the newsreels and advertising, you see. It sets up the important aspects of the landscape of my film. I think people are made up of landscapes. So it’s both a documentary about the salt marshes of Sête and on the young man’s youth when he lived with his father.
PU: In your two feature-length films, what problems did you encounter in directing your actors? There seems to be an evident change between these two films. AV: For La Pointe Courte, the mise en scene came down to a mise en place— just a matter of placing the actors in front of the camera. The characters expressed themselves in a primarily formal way, by their positions in the frame, by their formal relationships; they ended up being marionettecharacters. Likewise we didn’t have any depth of sound.
Agnès Varda: Interviews by T. Jefferson Kline