Agnès Varda, Filmmaker (Belgium / France)
Agnès Varda is one of the most important contemporary francophone filmmakers. She started out as a theatre photographer in Paris before shooting her first feature film, La Pointe Courte, in 1954, with no prior filmmaking experience. Through Alain Resnais, who edited the film, Varda first came into contact with the circle surrounding the Cahiers du Cinéma, who would later go on to form the core of the French Nouvelle Vague. Her fellow artists would soon include Chris Marker and Jacques Demy. In 1961 her film Cléo de 5 à 7 (Cléo from 5 to 7) premiered at Cannes and put her firmly on the radar of fans of new French cinema. 1967 saw Varda working alongside Claude Lelouch, Jean-Luc Godard and Chris Marker on the documentary Loin du Vietnam (Far from Vietnam). To date, Varda has made numerous feature and documentary films, for which she has received multiple awards and honours, including at the major festivals in Venice, Cannes and Berlin. Her latest film, the documentary Visages, villages (Faces Places), made in collaboration with French artist JR, was nominated for the 2018 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
Agnès Varda has been a guest of the Berlinale several times, including four times at Competition. In 1965 she was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Le Bonheur. Her most recent visit was in 2004, when she showed her short film Le lion volatil at Berlinale Special.
The Berlinale Camera was be presented to Agnès Varda on February 13 at the Berlinale Palast. This was followed by the world premiere of Varda's documentary Varda par Agnès (Varda by Agnès), screened out of competition in the section Competition.
The laudatory speech was given by Christoph Terhechte, who headed the Berlinale’s Forum section for many years.