AUTOBIOGRAPHY: At 90, French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda reflects on her career and a creative philosophy of community and empathy.
Carmen Gray
Freelance film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: April 30, 2019

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«Where are all the female directors?» is a question belatedly gaining traction amongst an industry only now conscious of its structural gender bias; a shift to redress decades of tunnel-visioned attention on a supposed canon of big-league male auteurs.

Along with calls that more be done to equal the playing field in supporting women-helmed films, a reevaluation of the past is also underway. Female filmmakers previously sidelined from cinematic history are being brought back into the spotlight for a new generation to appreciate.

Maverick outsider

Admiration of Agnès Varda, now a sprightly 90, has only recently gone mainstream. She was at the vanguard of the French New Wave, and one of the first women behind a camera to really make a mark on European arthouse cinema. Only recently embraced by the Oscars, and when she turned up to the award ceremony last year in silk pyjamas and trademark, punkish two-tone bob – the oldest nominee in history for her road-movie documentary Faces Places – social media erupted in a rush of adoring tweets. A maverick outsider, a light of joyful mischief, a self-proclaimed feminist, and the real genius deal, Varda has been embraced as a vital burst of creative energy that, locked out of the official narrative, has been in all too short supply.

It is a fitting opening for a …

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