Agnès Varda: Filmmaker, photographer, Instagrammer | BFI


Hello Well, Instagram has become part of my life,
but on the side. I’m not a real user of what the net proposes
– to have friends all over the world. I use it as a debutante. In the 60s and 50s you had to be a photographer. And when the photo camera became cheaper,
everybody became a photographer. Now, with the way we can make photos on the telephone, everybody is a filmmaker and a photographer. So everybody can do an Instagram and post
images and little stories. It’s fine. And who knows what is supposed to be from
an artist? Who knows about art? It has become so confusing. And beautifully confusing. Art is everywhere. The borders have been erased. Sometimes I allow myself to say “This is
bad”. But maybe I’m wrong? Maybe the next person would say “This is art”. So now the world of art, the world of photography
and the net has been changing all of the rules. All the ways of discussing, all the ways of
judging. It’s good in a way. It’s democratic. In my work, I
have been a photographer, a filmmaker and a visual artist, but what I’m trying is
to erase the borders. In some installations I mix still images and
video. Colour and black and white. Or a still image
and the same, moving. You see, our perception has to be tickled
all the time. We cannot decide: this is good, this is bad, this is old photos, this is new. So I’ve been using all these tools. Creating
films, art, even Instagram or something on the net. is being free. Is trying to find a way to
communicate freedom. Communicate the joy or the pain and the concern
we have over what’s happening in the world. The unhappiness, the chaos is everywhere.
And we still have to live and make joy and do little stories on Instagram. We are in a world which is chaotic and contradictory. Because we need to be in a good mood, we need
to be happy, we need to have a nice day and exchange images. The images are attacking us. You open the
TV and there’s incredible bad news. This is also the world of images. In the street, in a magazine … on all the
front pages you have the face of a beautiful woman selling cosmetics or a dress. Or to show what is a family and they eat that
special cheese. We are attacked by images, so it’s a good
answer to propose your own images on the net. Your own world. So, I’m always in a contradictory feeling,
because I feel good mostly all the time. I feel that I’m lucky not to be dead yet. And I know people, I meet people, I love what
I do. So you speak about the net – it’s perfect.
You exchange your ideas, but it’s just a part of the life. Just go out and speak to a neighbour. Maybe
that’s an act as important as one image on the net. The mirror, which is the tool of the painter
– to do a self-portrait. You put the mirror, and you paint, right? As I said at the beginning of the film, which
is my life… I had to bring a mirror, because of that idea that I would be filming myself, but I turn the
mirror. And I started to show in the mirror all the
people working with me on that film. The ocean and images, so that it would be
confusing – what are the real images and what is the mirror? So by making the confusion I thought I was
not trying to be selfish, but speaking about myself .. it’s a way of speaking about other
people. People who love me, people that I love. People
I’ve met. People I’ve been filming around the world: in China, in Cuba, the Black Panthers,
my neighbours. Life is made of encounters, expression. Sometimes
I succeed in making a film that shows what I wanted to show or what I meant. I don’t have a plan for my career – I
never did. Sometimes I stopped some years because I didn’t have the money. I didn’t find something pushing me to do
it right away. So I had to accept that I want to be always coherent, is that a word? I wanted to be coherent with what I feel about
what I do. I didn’t do advertising. A lot of directors
do it. I don’t want to sell cosmetics or cream or food for good dogs. So I did just my work as a filmmaker, as a
photographer, as an artist, connected to what I believe. Yesterday and today 450 people are coming
to see one of my films. I’m totally delighted. I was living with Jacque Demy, together in the
same house… same table, same bed. But we didn’t discuss so much our work because
he had his world, I had mine. This is something you cannot totally share.
You can speak about it [but] we never worked together. At the time of the so-called New Wave, we
were meeting… Jacques Demy and me were meeting Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina, and sometimes
Rivette That was all. As friends. And then all of the other people
were doing their thing and we were doing our thing. And I never signed anything in any group,
in any party. Neither did Jacques Demy. We felt like independents. I know that Jacques Demy loved my film, Vagabond,
a lot. But he hated Le Bonheur – Happiness. He found it not moral at all. So you can love somebody and not be obliged
to marry all the films and their opinions. Everybody has a world that is important. And
sometimes we don’t understand enough, we don’t listen enough. As a documentarist I’m a good listener.
But sometimes I miss, sometimes we are not good at every thing. I feel I do my best and sometimes I’m not very good. Yeah. It can be said “They talk too much
to be happy”. But we know also that conversation and understanding with words can make you
happy. One word in a film, in one scene, cannot be
taken as a Bible line. it is true at that moment, when these people
see them speaking, but maybe it’s not true? What you say in a film, what you have people
express, is one instance. Maybe in ten years we will say together different
things. So when they quote me they say “You said
that”. I say, “Yes. Well maybe I did say that that day because… something…” We cannot be quoted as we are. The truth, the true world … I make mistakes
all of the time. I confuse things sometimes and then I say
“Oops. I made a gaffe”. OK. I’m trying to be open. I’m trying to be
listening. I’m trying to remain curious. Which is good enough to occupy my life. Au revoir

Posts created 2006

12 thoughts on “Agnès Varda: Filmmaker, photographer, Instagrammer | BFI

  1. Have just been lucky enough to see Faces Places in Hull, and would love to see a retrospective of Agnes Varda’s work in the U.K.

  2. Au revoir Madame ! Merci pour votre vision des choses et votre vision "tout court". Merci pour tout ce que vous nous avez transmis et nous transmettrez encore. Hope you're in heaven with Jacques Demy et Michel Legrand.

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