The Cinema of Agnès Varda: Resistance and Eclecticism by Delphine Bénézet (review)


Varda’s longtime moniker, “Grandmother” of the French New Wave, conjures the image of a “little old woman, pleasantly plump and talkative”–a description that Varda herself uses in Les Plages d’Agnès (2008). In The Cinema of Agnès Varda: Resistance and Eclecticism, Delphine Bénézet contends that this persona is merely one of many alter egos that Varda puts forward in her attempt to debunk “the myth of the all mighty male auteur” (61). Furthermore, Bénézet’s exploration of Varda’s oeuvre reveals that the filmmaker’s work has always been anything but antiquated. Since her first feature film, La Pointe Courte (1954), Varda’s innovative approach to filmmaking has been a testament to the limitless possibilities of the moving image. In fact, Bénézet implies that film theory–with recent “critical extensions via phenomenology, philosophy and ethics” (3)–has only begun to catch up with Varda’s inventive and original praxis.

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