Agnès Varda, the influential filmmaker who became a key figure in French New Wave cinema, has died at the age of 90.
Varda passed away on Thursday of complications from cancer, according to a family statement released to French news agency AFP.
“The director and artist Agnes Varda died at her home on the night of Thursday March 29, of complications from cancer,” the statement said. “She was surrounded by her family and friends.”
“In my films I always wanted to make people see deeply. I don't want to show things, but to give people the desire to see.”
Agnès Varda (1928 – 2019), a true original from first to last. pic.twitter.com/wTsqQsdqll
— Curzon (@CurzonCinemas) March 29, 2019
The first female director to receive an honorary Oscar, Varda was known for films such as Cléo From 5 to 7 (which follows a woman awaiting cancer test results), Le Bonheur, One Hundred and One Nights and Kung-Fu Master.
In 2018 she became the oldest ever Oscar nominee for her film Faces Places, a documentary about Varda’s road trip and friendship with the French photographer known as JR.
Following her nomination, she famously sent a life-sized cardboard cutout of herself to the Oscar nominees luncheon in her place.
In 2019 she released an autobiographical documentary, Varda by Agnès, which premiered at the Berlinale film festival.
The Cannes Film Festival paid tribute to the director, saying “For almost 65 years, Agnès Varda’s eyes and voice embodied cinema with endless inventiveness. The place she occupied is irreplaceable. Agnès loved images, words and people. She’s one of those whose youth will never fade.”
Immense sadness. For almost 65 years, Agnès Varda’s eyes and voice embodied cinema with endless inventiveness. The place she occupied is irreplaceable. Agnès loved images, words and people. She’s one of those whose youth will never fade. pic.twitter.com/cpquJXJtwK
— Festival de Cannes (@Festival_Cannes) March 29, 2019