Locarno Film Fest to Honor Agnes Varda

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Locarno's Piazza Grande

Varda's career began in 1955, but this will be her first official appearance at the storied Swiss film festival.

ROME — The Locarno Film Festival announced Thursday it would honor prolific French auteur Agnes Varda with the Pardo d'onore (Leopard of Honor) career tribute, including a special retrospective of her work and a public meeting with cinema fans.

Varda, 86, a photographer by trade, began directing in 1955 and along the way has had films screen in competition in Cannes, in 1962 for Cleo from 5 to 7 (Cléo de 5 à 7); in Berlin, starting in 1965 for for Le Bonheur; and in Venice, where she won the Golden Lion in 1985 for Vagabond (Sans toit no loi). But this will be her first official appearance at the 67-year-old Locarno fest.

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The festival's tribute to Varda will center around a retrospective that will include Cleo from 5 to 7, Vagabond, 1966 fantasy drama The Creatures (Les Créatures), Lions, Love (…and Lies) from 1969 all the way to her 2011 television series Agnes de ci de la Varda.

"Both a narrator of, and witness to, so many of the events that marked the 20th century, Varda has made formal experimentation and freedom an invariable hallmark of her work," Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian said in a statement.

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The festival, which takes place this year Aug. 6-16, will announce its full lineup July 16.

Twitter: @EricJLyman