Agnès Varda, Influential French New Wave Filmmaker, Is Dead at 90 – Smart Media Magazine

Agnès Varda, Influential French New Wave Filmmaker, Is Dead at 90

It was also during that period that she befriended Jim Morrison, the frontman of the Doors, who visited her and Mr. Demy in France; according to Stephen Davis’s “Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend” (2004), she was one of only five mourners at Mr. Morrison’s funeral in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris in 1971. That same year she became one of the 343 women to sign the “Manifesto of the 343,” a French petition acknowledging that they had had abortions and thus making themselves vulnerable to prosecution.

In 1972, the birth of her son, Mathieu Demy, now an actor, prompted Ms. Varda to sideline her career. He survives her, as does the costume designer Rosalie Varda Demy, Ms. Varda’s daughter from a previous relationship, who was adopted by Jacques Demy.

“Despite my joy,” Ms. Varda told the actress Mireille Amiel in a 1975 interview, “I couldn’t help resenting the brakes put on my work and my travels.” So she had an electric line of about 300 feet for her camera and microphone run from her house, and with this “umbilical cord” she managed to interview the shopkeepers and her other neighbors on the Rue Daguerre. The result was “Daguerréotypes” (1976).

In 1977 she made what she called her “feminist musical,” and one of her better-known films, “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t,” which also seemed inspired by personal circumstance.

“It’s the story of two 15-year-old girls, their lives and their ideas,” she told Ms. Amiel. “They have to face this key problem: Do they want to have children or not? They each fall in love and encounter the contradictions — work/image, ideas/love, etc.”

One of Ms. Varda’s more controversial films, because of its casting, was “Kung-Fu Master!” (1988), a fictional work about an adult woman — played by the actress Jane Birkin, a friend of Ms. Varda’s — who falls in love with a teenage boy, played by Ms. Varda’s son. The title — it was changed in France to “Le Petit Amour” — referred to the young character’s favorite arcade game. The film was shot more or less simultaneously with “Jane B. par Agnes V.,” another of Ms. Varda’s border crossings between fact and fiction, which she called “an imaginary biopic.”

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