Agnès Varda to be celebrated at Edinburgh Film Festival

Agnès Varda's moving final film Varda by Agnès will screen at Edinburgh International Film Festival alongside a free programme of some of her most-loved films

Article by Jamie Dunn | 24 May 2019
  • Agnès Varda

The death of cinema treasure Agnès Varda back in March has left an absence in the film world that will be felt for a long while. The legendary French director was much-loved, not only for her films – which are among the most inventive and nourishing in modern cinema – but for her warm, playful persona as the self-styled grandmother of the French New Wave. Varda remained busy and vital right up until her death and has one final gift to bestow upon the world, her delightful and deeply moving final feature, titled simply Varda by Agnès.

Scottish movie-nuts will be among the first to see Varda's swansong when the film has its UK premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival. It's a wry personal account of her own legacy, with Varda taking us on a tour of her unorthodox career, splicing together several recent lectures with new footage and clips from her wonderful films, stretching from her 1954 debut La Pointe Courte to 2017 road movie cine-essay Faces Places. Filmmaker and critic Mark Cousins will introduce the UK premiere of Varda by Agnès on 22 June, following which The Skinny will be taking over EIFF HQ (aka Filmhouse's cafe bar) with a night of music and fun celebrating this great filmmaker – more details to be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition to Varda by Agnès, EIFF will also screen five of Varda's most-loved films throughout the festival. Best of all, these screenings are free, thanks to the support of EIFF Patrons James and Morag Anderson. The lineup includes another of Varda's personal cine-essays, The Beaches of Agnès (28 Jun); French New Wave classic Cléo from 5 to 7 (24 Jun); Jacquot de Nantes, Varda's tribute to her husband and fellow filmmaker, Jacques Demy (27 Jun); her dream-like paean to female friendship, One Sings, The Other Doesn't (25 Jun); and her heartbreaking, austerely beautiful road movie Vagabond (26 Jun).

Edinburgh International Film Festival runs 19-30 Jun; the UK premiere of Varda by Agnès takes place 22 Jun, 8.45pm, Odeon Lothian Road; The Skinny take over Filmhouse's cafe bar for a night on 22 Jun to celebrate Varda; all tickets available from Fri 31 May at 10am (members and EIFF Friends can get tickets from Wed 29 May at noon)