It's over. Agnès Varda retires at 90 years of cinema. He says that now he will focus on artistic installations, a discipline he has also devoted years to. The godmother of the Nouvelle Vague has decided that his latest contribution to the big screen is the documentary Varda by Agnès, a film lesson, a review of his artistic life using for them the lectures he has given over the past two years around the world, because he also retires from these talks. "I never wanted to say anything, but for those who care, there it is"; account in his press conference in the Berlinale. where the film has been screened out of competition.
Winner of the honorary Oscar in the same year in which she competed for the Oscar for best documentary with Faces and places (2017), his previous work, the Belgian filmmaker emphasizes that Varda by Agnès already shows his change of professional orientation: "If you look, it is divided into two parts, the twentieth and the twenty-first, the first I'm more of a filmmaker, in the second, an artist." Received with a thunderous ovation in the press room, where he started remembering: "I'm not a legend, I'm still alive", and stressed: "I've never done political films, I've simply stayed on the side of workers and women".
Varda tells on screen that if he has had a long career it has been for his three pillars to make films: "Inspiration, creation and sharing the result". He confesses that to shoot "you need patience", and that you have always taken the camera to the street "because nothing is banal if it is filmed with empathy and love". For two hours he remembers how he went from photography to filmmaking, how he survived not falling into traps like gender change or big budgets: "I always knew that my successes would come by observing people, showing their most special, interesting side. I fought against my instincts. " He deconstructs and explains some of his films, such as Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962), The happiness (1965), the documentary about the Black Panthers – made in 1968 when she and her husband, Jacques Demy, they lived in Los Angeles-, One sings, another does not (1977) or No roof or law (1985), and why its 13 travellings and how he devised them. With his teachings, the viewer discovers that Varda leaves very little to chance, that all his plans were very well thought out in shooting well in montage.
For the filmmaker, "films do not stop time, but accompany it." He also talks about two elements that inspire him: the beaches -always, throughout his life, since they contain the three elements with sand, sky and sea- and potatoes, another discovery of the 21st century. "Of course, because of my documentary style, I appreciate the arrival of digital cameras, because of their size and manageability, because of their ease in hiding them, they have helped me a lot." She also talks in the movie about friends (like Jane Birkin, with the one she made in 1988). Jane B. par Agnès V), of fellow travelers (like his beloved and longed for Demy), and of all the professionals who have been at his command (that's why he stops at One hundred and one nights, the last film that rolled on celluloid and that contains a profuse cast). As a clear tribute to his workers, at the beginning of the press conference he has read the names of almost all the members of the technical team of Varda by Agnès. There will be more Varda, he promises, but it will be in another art. There wait for us.