My Three Lives : an artist talk with Agnès Varda

March 2, 2016 | By Laurence Geannopulos
November 18, 2015
1 hour 46 minutes 
Logan Center Gallery, University of Chicago  

Program Overview 


In this discussion, acclaimed artist Agnès Varda speaks and reflects on various stges of her career as a photographer, filmmaker and visual artist. She discusses her modest beginnings in photography, saying she was a photographer long before she was a filmmaker. The discussion continues with various excerpts and clips from many of her films including Uncle Yanco, Vagabond, Cleo from 5 to 7 and her autobiographical documentary, The Beaches of Agnès. She also meditates on what it means to be a filmmaker and the importance to follow one's joy, excitement, and surprise. A Question and Answer portion follows the presentation, moderated by lecturer of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, Dominique Bluher.


Outline of the Program



About Agnès Varda 


Agnès Varda is a French film director, photographer, and visual artist. Her contributions to the world of art span a lifetime - from playing a pivotal role in the development of the French New Wave film movement with her films including La Pointe Courte, Cléo from 5 to 7, and The Gleaners and I, to her great success as a visual artist, having exhibited installation pieces to high acclaim all over the world. Varda's work often explores themes of life and death and has been influenced by political and feminist issues. 


Discussion Questions 


Whether watching the video on your own or with a group, we invite you to follow along with the thematic discussion questions listed below, which will help spark debates and gain a better understanding of the subjects examined throughout the video.

1. Discuss the future of the French New Wave Movement. Are there any up and coming female filmmakers who could be nicknamed the "daughter" of the French New Wave in the some way that Varda is referred to as the "mother" and "grandmother"?

2. Compare and contrast Varda's fictional work and her documentaries. 

3. How has Agnès Varda incorporated her own personal life and emotions into the films? 

4. What does Agnès Varda mention are some difficulties and challenges that come up while filming? What ways does Varda use to overcome them? 

5. What is the stance of Agnès Varda towards being in the films herself? What reasons does she give for her decision? 


Online Resources for More Information 


Director Agnès Varda to receive honorary Palme d'Or (BBC News) 

Agnès Varda is decorated with the highly prestigious honorary Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival of 2015.

Agnès Varda "Moi, j'ai jamais fait rentrer d'argent, j'ai jamais été bankable" (France Inter, 2015) (in French) 

Patrick Cohen of France Inter interviews Agnès Varda. 


Other Resources 


Book : The Cinema of Agnès Varda by Delphine Benezet (published 2014)

Book : History of the French New Wave Cinema by Richard Neupert (published 2007)


This program made possible with the support of the following  


Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Chicago

France Chicago Center

Alliance Française de Chicago

UChicago French Club

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