Friday, June 21, 2024

Pioneering French New Wave Filmmaker Agnes Varda Dies at 90, Nominated for 2017 Oscar with “Faces/Places”


So sad to see that Agnes Varda has died. She was 90 and suffered from breast cancer but was nonetheless a spitfire. Two years ago she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oscars and received a nomination for her extraordinarily charming documentary with artist JR called “Faces/Places.”

Varda’s full obit is here. She had many awards, of course. But her authentic style, her genuine interest in other people’s lives, and loves, is what her special. Plus. she was extraordinarily charming, so she could get anyone to do anything, whether it was real people in documentaries or actors in narrative films. Varda’s best known film in the US was “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t,” released in 1977 at the height of the French film movement here.

In 2017, during the in-earnest rounds for “Faces/Places,” Peggy Siegal had a tea for Varda at the Hotel Plaza Athenee. She brought her daughter translate, but in short order the Q&A became a masterclass. It was quite extraordinary for us, sitting two inches from this legend. She talked and talked about all her films, about filmmaking. and her life. We were dazzled. I’m so sorry she’s gone, but she’s dazzling everyone in heaven right now.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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