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“No One Like Her”: Filmmakers Pay Tribute to Agnès Varda, Master of the French New Wave

Agnes Varda with a sunflower.
Agnes Varda poses at the Chaumont-sur-Loire castle in France on March 23.
Guillaume Souvant/Getty Images

Agnès Varda, the legendary French director and New Wave icon behind such films as Cléo From 5 to 7 and Faces Places, died on Friday in her home in Paris, Variety reports. She was 90. Varda’s death from breast cancer was confirmed by her family, who said in a statement that she was “surrounded by family and friends” at the time of her passing. They described her as a “joyful feminist” and “passionate artist.”

Varda got her start as a still photographer before launching her career as a filmmaker with her 1955 feature debut, La Pointe Courte.* The film, which was dismissed by major critics at the time, is now widely considered a prelude to the French New Wave. Her second feature, Cléo From 5 to 7, landed in the Cannes Film Festival and catapulted the filmmaker to international fame. For decades, Varda remained a leading force on the international film scene. In 2017, she became the first female director to receive an honorary Oscar, and she was nominated for her first competitive Oscar in 2018 for Faces Places.

On social media, news of Varda’s passing was met with remembrances from major voices in the creative community, including the visual artist JR, who was Varda’s close friend and collaborator on Faces Places.

At the news of her death, Ava DuVernay, Barry Jenkins, and Edgar Wright also hailed Varda as a guiding light and indie cinema master. We’ve rounded up tributes from them and other friends and admirers below and will update this post as more come in.

Correction, March 29, 2019: This post originally misstated that Varda was the first woman to win an honorary Oscar. She was the first female director to win the award. It also incorrectly stated the year La Pointe Courte was released. It was 1955, not 1995.