Agnès Varda dies at 90

French New Wave pioneer had cancer

by Amber Wilkinson

Agnès Varda will receive l'Etoille d'Or
Agnès Varda will receive l'Etoille d'Or Photo: Rosalie Varda
Pioneering French New Wave director Agnès Varda has died on the day before her 91st birthday.

She died at her home in France after a short battle with cancer.

The Belgian-born writer/director had been making films since 1954, when she established Tamaris, a film-production company for her first feature film La Pointe Courte. Her final, 37th film Varda by Agnès had its premiere in Berlin early this year.

Her groundbreaking films included Cleo From 5 to 7, The Gleaners And I and The Beaches Of Agnes.

She became the first female director to receive an honorary Oscar in 2018 and was nominated for the Documentary Academy Award that same year for her collaboration with JR, Faces Places. It was just one of a string of honours she received in recent years, which also included a Palme d’Or d’Honneur at Cannes, the Etoile d'Or in Marrakech and the Leopard Of Honour award in Locarno.

Frequently referred to as the "grandmother/mother of the French New Wave", Varda was known for her playful and humanistic viewpoint that often focused on the marginalised in society.

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