Studio 360

Remembering Agnès Varda

What happened when iconic filmmaker Agnès Varda and artist JR teamed up for a road trip? They brought art to the people of rural France.

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The trailblazing filmmaker Agnès Varda died of breast cancer on Friday at age 90. In tribute to her, we’re revisiting Kurt’s 2017 interview with Varda and her collaborator JR.

Their Oscar-nominated movie, Faces Places, documents their loving—albeit unexpected—friendship. She was a founding member of the French New Wave, while he is a 36-year-old French artist known for plastering huge black-and-white photographs on the sides of buildings around the world.

A few years ago, they hit the road for a tour of the French countryside, creating a series of public art projects everywhere they stopped.

Agnès Varda poses with Kurt Andersen and JR at the Slate office in Brooklyn, New York, in 2017.
Agnès Varda poses with Kurt Andersen and JR at the Slate office in Brooklyn, New York, in 2017.
Studio 360

“We really thought we could put together our two ways of looking at people,” said Varda. “In my documentaries, I give big importance to the people I meet, try to give them opportunities to express themselves, to be bigger than life, you know.”

“We’re both big curious people” said JR. “But something really important that many people don’t know: We love chouquettes and chocolate eclairs.”

“Well,” said Varda. “He’s what we call a ‘sugar mouth.’ ”

This podcast was produced by Studio 360’s Zoë Saunders.

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