Finding a Voice: Varda’s Early Travelogues


Agnès Varda’s nonfiction filmmaking career can be usefully seen as the story of the refining and maturation of her cinematic voice. This occurred in part through her unusual insistence on authoring as many aspects of her films as possible. By late in her career with Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000), Agnès/Varda—that is, the persona in the film and the real director—are both investigator and cinematic gleaner, in frame and out; a camera operator, framing shots-within-the-shot, discussing her video camera and including its inadvertently-made footage; onscreen, both interviewer and a model posing to imitate painting. The voiceover narration is that of Varda; and when we hear a rap song, the lyrics are hers, too. By Les Plages d’Agnès (2008), the filmmaker has wholly become her own subject.

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