Masters of cinema: Agnes Varda
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: HF239
Duration: 1 session
What is the course about?
A filmmaker who began her career in the mid-1950s, Agnès Varda was affectionately known as the ‘grandmother’ of the French New Wave, despite her more obvious affiliation with the so-called ‘left-bank’ directors such as Jacques Demy (her husband) and Alain Resnais. This one-day course will introduce you to Varda’s body of work, from her influential first feature length film, La pointe courte (1955) to her final work, Varda par Agne`s (2019), exploring her status as a ‘feminist’ filmmaker, while situating her output within France’s broader social and cultural context. The course will also consider the importance of the digital for her later career, proposing that one might consider her a broader multi-media artist rather than simply a film director.
What will we cover?
The course will cover the film output of Agnès Varda. It will also introduce participants to the French New Wave and discuss Varda’s relationship with it. There will be some exploration of French society and culture as the context for both the French New Wave and Varda’s emergence as a filmmaker. As her career spans almost seventy years there will be some consideration of the changes experienced by France between the 1950s and the late 2010s. The course will also explore the extent to which Varda might be considered a feminist and also an artist, especially given her engagement with digital technology in her later filmmaking practice.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Have an understanding of the importance of Agnès Varda as an internationally significant female filmmaker
• Have a sense of her filmmaking output and the various forms that this took, from dramas to documentaries
• Have reached a critical appreciation of Varda’s work and her relationship to French culture and society.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is for all levels. Varda’s work is wide ranging and accessible and is suitable for those who enjoy films that provoke thought and discussion. Please note that the films viewed and discussed will be subtitled as they will all be in French.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be delivered as an informal lecture/talk but there will plenty of scope for discussion and questions throughout. The course will be supported by screening extracts from a range of Varda’s films.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There no other costs. Bring a pen and paper or other suitable note taking device. Clips will be shown extensively throughout the course. Where possible links to online sources will be made available.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other Film Studies courses on our website at www.citylit.ac.uk under History, Culture and Writing/film studies.
Dr. Paul Sutton is an independent film scholar who has taught Film Studies in UK higher education for over 25 years. His research covers psychoanalytic and film theory as well as Italian and French cinema and critical theory. He has published articles in journals such as Screen, French Studies and the Journal for Cultural Research. He is currently writing a psychoanalytic book on film spectatorship, Afterwardsness in Film, and has recently published work on television as a form of palliative care, and an assessment of the films of the Italian experimental filmmaker Ugo Nespolo.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.