Remembering Agnes Varda

by Philip Berk March 30, 2019
Director Agnes Varda

frederick m. brown/getty images

If she had only made Cleo from 5 to 7, it would have been sufficient, if she had made only Le Bonheur, it would have been sufficient.

Had she only made One Sings, the Other Doesn’t, it would have been sufficient. The same could be said about  Vagabond.

But then, last year, in her 90th year, she made Faces Places, a documentary which provided us one of the most magical times we have ever spent in a movie theatre. Agnes Varda is now gone and with her a page in French film history.

The diminutive director was a giant in her field, but she was also someone who dedicated herself to keep alive the memory of her husband Jacques Demy, whose groundbreaking Umbrellas of Cherbourg made Hollywood rethink the musical. Demy tragically died too young, but she made sure his films would continue to be studied.

Which she succeeded in doing.

But to many her work far exceeds his. Who can forget the tenderness with which she portrayed a philandering husband in Le Bonheur? Or her documenting the contentment of the French laborer in Faces Places?

She not only deserved France’s highest honor, Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur, for her contribution to the arts. I believe she was also a wonderful ambassador for her country’s joie de vivre.

Rest in peace, dear Agnes.