Agnès Varda, New Wave Cinema Icon, Dies @ 90

Agnès Varda, a Belgian-born French filmmaker whose work prefigured and came to epitomize the French New Wave, died Thursday, March 28, at her home after a battle with cancer, the BBC reports.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (Image via movie still)

She was 90.

A commercial photographer early on, Varda was drawn to fine-arts photography and film, deciding to make her first movie — La Pointe Courte (1954) with no experience in the medium. An intense film about a couple dealing with their unhappiness while living in a small fishing town, it was quickly recognized as a visionary work.

"I wanted to invent cinema, and be happy to be a woman. I wanted to be a radical." — Agnès Varda, 2018

Varda went on to make many other impactful and influential films, among them Cléo from 5 to 7 (1961), about a pop star awaiting word on whether she may have cancer; Vagabond (1984), a drama about a female drifter; Jacquot de Nantes (1991), about the life and death of her husband, fellow filmmaker Jacques Demy (1931-1990); The Gleaners and I (2000), a documentary about French harvesters; and 2017's Faces Places, a documentary about her friendship with the artist JR (b. 1983) that resulted in her becoming the oldest-ever nominee for a competitive Oscar.

Her final work, a TV doc about herself called Varda by Agnès, debuted earlier this year.

How's that for a pitch? (Images via video stills)

Among her many honors and awards, Varda was the first woman to receive an honorary Oscar for her life's work as a director (2017).

She is survived by her daughter, Rosalie Varda (b. 1958), a costume designer, producer, writer and actress; and her son, actor, director and producer Mathieu Demy (b. 1972).

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