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Agnès Varda: Cinécriture

March 6, 2009 - April 18, 2009

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Le bonheur, March 7, April 12

An important figure in the development of the French New Wave and the only female director associated with the movement, Agnès Varda (b. 1928) holds a singular position in film history. Yet Varda maintains that she became a filmmaker unintentionally. While working as a photographer for the Théâtre National Populaire in Paris, and with little previous knowledge of cinema, she was persuaded by a friend to make her first feature, La Pointe Courte (1954). Since then, she has made numerous shorts, essay films, and documentaries that are as impressive as her more widely distributed features.

Varda champions the idea that filmmaking is artisan’s work, equivalent to weaving and hand-sewing, and that production should take place in the atmosphere of an atelier. (In 1977, she created Ciné-Tamaris, her own production company and studio.) She was educated in literature and psychology at the Sorbonne and art history at the École du Louvre, and her films draw on her love of the arts—photography and literature in particular. She describes her style of expression as cinécriture (film-writing): “The cutting, the movement, the points-of-view, the rhythm of filmmaking and editing have been felt and considered in the way a writer chooses the depth of meaning and sentences, the type of words, number of adverbs, paragraphs, asides, chapters which advance the story or break its flow.”

Varda’s ability to make non-ideological films anchored in social reality is part of the strength of her cinema. Her work responds to life in a personal and sophisticated way, reflecting her private and public role as one of France’s leading directors.

Susan Oxtoby
Senior Film Curator

Friday, March 6, 2009
6:30 p.m. La Pointe Courte
Agnès Varda (France, 1954)

Friday, March 6, 2009
8:30 p.m. Cléo from 5 to 7
Agnès Varda (France, 1961)

Saturday, March 7, 2009
8:30 p.m. Le bonheur
Agnès Varda (France, 1965). With short L’opéra-Mouffe (Agnès Varda, France, 1958).

Sunday, March 8, 2009
4:30 p.m. Cinévardaphoto
Agnès Varda (France, 1963–2004)

Sunday, March 22, 2009
4:15 p.m. Cléo from 5 to 7
Agnès Varda (France, 1961)

Friday, March 27, 2009
7:00 p.m. The Gleaners and I
Agnès Varda (France, 2000)

Friday, March 27, 2009
8:45 p.m. Vagabond
Agnès Varda (France, 1985)

Saturday, March 28, 2009
6:30 p.m. Cléo from 5 to 7
Agnès Varda (France, 1961)

Saturday, March 28, 2009
8:20 p.m. Daguerréotypes
Agnès Varda (France, 1975). With short Du côté de la côte (Agnès Varda, France, 1958).

Friday, April 3, 2009
8:40 p.m. The Playful Is Political: Short Films
Agnès Varda (U.S./France, 1967–76)

Saturday, April 4, 2009
6:30 p.m. La Pointe Courte
Agnès Varda (France, 1954)

Saturday, April 4, 2009
8:20 p.m. Lions Love
Agnès Varda (U.S., 1969)

Friday, April 10, 2009
8:40 p.m. The Beaches of Agnès
Agnès Varda (France, 2008)

Saturday, April 11, 2009
6:00 p.m. The Beaches of Agnès
Agnès Varda (France, 2008)

Saturday, April 11, 2009
8:15 p.m. Jacquot
Agnès Varda (France, 1991)

Sunday, April 12, 2009
3:30 p.m. Le bonheur
Agnès Varda (France, 1965). With short L’opéra-Mouffe (Agnès Varda, France, 1958).

Friday, April 17, 2009
6:30 p.m. Vagabond
Agnès Varda (France, 1985)

Friday, April 17, 2009
8:40 p.m. Mur murs
Agnès Varda (U.S., 1980). With short Les dites cariatides (Agnès Varda, France, 1984).

Saturday, April 18, 2009
6:30 p.m. The Gleaners and I
Agnès Varda (France, 2000)

Series curated by Susan Oxtoby. Presented with support from the Consortium for the Arts at UC Berkeley. PFA wishes to thank the following individuals and institutions for their assistance with this retrospective: Agnès Varda and Cecilia Rose, Ciné-Tamaris; Christophe Musitelli, French Consulate, San Francisco; Sandrine Butteau, French Embassy, New York; Brian Belovarac, Janus Films; and Clémence Taillandier, Zeitgeist Films.