On Agnes Varda and La Pointe-Courte.


“I would like to be remembered as a film-maker [who] enjoyed life, including pain. This is such a terrible world, but I keep the idea that every day should be interesting. What happens in my days – working, meeting people, listening – convinces me that it’s worth being alive.”*


Agnès Varda was 25 when she sat down in her court yard and wrote her first film. “I wrote it like a poem..” she says “..that you then hide in a drawer: a reverie of a film.”** Varda was a Photographer with a passion for literature and art. With no previous experience in filmmaking, she went to La Pointe-Courte in Sète, a French seaside fishing village, and created the film with the same name that by many came to be considered a forerunner of the french new wave.

La Pointe-Courte was shot in 1954 in black and white. Varda had an interest in telling the stories of people living in the margins of society. She played with imagery going from documentary to artful. As seen in the iconic Picasso inspired images of the main characters faces, one in silhouette overlapping the portrait of the other.

In La Pointe-Courte, a man returns to his hometown with his wife as they reevaluate their relationship. Varda combines the confrontations and intimacy of a love story with the curiosity of a documentary filmmaker as she also follows the lives of the fishermen in the village and their families. She shows their arguments – both financial and political, as well as the laughter and struggles of everyday life in the village.

As a young girl, Varda came to Sète with her family during the war as a refugee. After leaving Sète, the family continued to spend their summers in the village.

Varda started a cinematic revolution away from the spotlight with la Pointe-Courte. Cinécriture was a term she invented to describe her storytelling technique in film. As the only female member of the New wave, she took a strong standpoint in fighting for women’s rights in the male-dominated film industry.


* The Guardian – Agnès Varda’s last interview: ‘I fought for radical cinema all my life’.
**MUBI – Notebook Interview.

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