In her ever-evolving career, the legendary filmmaker Agnès Varda has gone from being a photographer at the Avignon festival in the late 1940s, through being a director celebrated at the Cannes festival (Cléo de 5 à 7, 1962), to her more ironic self-proclaimed status as a ‘jeune artiste plasticienne’. She has recently staged mixed-media projects and exhibitions all over the world from Paris (2006) to Los Angeles (2013-14) and the latest ‘tour de France’ with JR (2015-16). Agnès Varda Unlimited: Image, Music, Media reconsiders the legacy and potential of Varda’s radical tour de force cinématique, as seen in the 22-DVD ‘definitive’ Tout(e) Varda, and her enduring artistic presence. These essays discuss not just when, but also how and why, Varda’s renewed artistic forms have ignited with such creative force, and have been so inspiring an influence. The volume concludes with two remarkable interviews: one with Varda herself, and another rare contribution from the leading actress of Cléo de 5 à 7, Corinne Marchand.
Marie-Claire Barnet is Senior Lecturer in French at Durham University.
‘The essays in this important and richly illustrated volume edited by Marie-Claire Barnet focus on the film, installation art, photography, and use of music by the multi-faceted and creative soon-to-be nonagenarian, Agnès Varda... An inspiring and valuable volume.’ — Dervila Cooke, H-France18, March 2018, no. 51
‘A wide-angle approach highlighting not only Varda’s move towards art installations in the past decades, but also the influence of various creative forms, some of them non-visual – including photography, sculpture, music, architecture, poetry, and even video gaming – on her earlier works. Contributions span an incredibly broad range of artistic and critical perspectives... Inspires the reader to (re-)discover Varda’s work and its ‘unlimited’ potential: not only in that her work resists labels, but also because her imagination and artistic legacy seem to be boundless.’ — Elise Hugueny-Léger, Modern and Contemporary France 26.1, 2018, 99-100 (full text online)
‘The book’s subtitle suggests that it will give attention to the frequently overlooked music employed in (and often written for) Varda’s films, and here it does not disappoint, with Phil Powrie’s essay offering an excellently informed, disciplined, and particularly well-illustrated investigation of L’Une chante, l’autre pas as the ‘feminist musical’ Varda has claimed it to be, and Hannah Mowat’s brilliantly entitled ‘Lara Croft dans un champ de patates: A Ludomusicological Approach to Agnès Varda’ drawing on ‘the emerging discipline of ludomusicology: a field in which soundscape is inseparable from the act of gameplay’. That Mowat’s essay is the single most stimulating contribution to the volume... says much not just about the consistently high quality of its contents, but also about the remarkably enduring spirit of playfulness and invention that has characterized Varda’s entire career, and with which she continues to engage and entertain us.’ — Kate Ince, Modern Language Review 113.3, July 2018, 663-64 (full text online)
‘The authors all speak with palpable enthusiasm about their subjects, making the book thoroughly enjoyable and engaging.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 54.3, July 2018, 371
‘Any student of Varda’s work will find something indispensable in this collection, which enhances, but in no way exhausts, the growing body of research celebrating the variety, the challenge, and the inclusive playfulness of one of France’s greatest artists.’ — Alison Smith, French Studies 72.3, July 2018, 482-83
‘Une contribution riche et éclairante pour celles et ceux qui étudient l’oeuvre de Varda.’ — François Giraud, H-France19, January 2019, no. 19