French Director Agnes Varda to Receive Lifetime Honor at European Film Awards

Agnes Varda

The "grandmother" of the French New Wave will get the honor from the European Film Academy

French director Agnes Varda, who has won acclaim for the strong feminist and social commentary in her work, will receive this year's lifetime achievement honor from the European Film Academy.

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Born in Belgium to French and Greek parents, Varda escaped the Nazi-occupied country as a teenager and fled to France, where she has remained. Her work was initially closely associated with the French Nouvelle Vague cinema movement, in particular the politically active Left Bank Cinema group. Her films have primarily focused on the marginalized and rejected members of society. Female characters are often at the center of her films, leading Varda to be hailed as a pioneering director in the feminist movement.

In her first feature, La Pointe Courte (1954), Varda already shows the components of her very personal style, including the combination of professional actors with ordinary people in the small fishing town where the film is shot.

Varda has been described by movie academics such as Ginette Vincendeau as the "grandmother" of the French New Wave, and she was a key figure among the so-called Left Bank directors. 

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The documentary style is something Varda would return to time and again in her features. She also has shot several award-winning non-fiction films, including The Beaches of Agnes, which won a Cesar for best documentary in 2008 and was nominated for a DGA award.

Other honors include the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1985 for Vagabond; Berlin's Silver Bear for Happiness in 1965 and a European Film Award in 2000 for The Gleaners and I.

Varda will receive her lifetime achievement award at the 27th European Film Awards on Dec. 13 in Riga, Latvia.

Twitter: @sroxborough

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