YOU’LL have heard of Steven Spielberg and Alfred Hitchcock, and maybe even Bernardo Bertolucci and Wim Wenders. But what about Agnès Varda?
The name will strike a chord with real film buffs and especially those aficionados of French cinema.
Varda, it seems, is as important a name in France as those others are in America, Britain, Italy and Germany respectively. All are directors who have made their mark.
A series of Agnès Varda films has been running at the Tyneside Cinema and will reach a climax on Saturday when the director herself puts in an appearance.
Varda, who is 84, will attend a screening of her breakthrough film, Cléo From 5 To 7, which is 50 years old this year.
In an event organised in association with Durham University, the director will answer questions about the film and her colourful career.
She is credited with being one of the French New Wave of directors who emerged in the late 1950s and 60s – the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Françoise Truffaut and Éric Rohmer – but she actually predates them.
Her first film, La Point Courte, screened at the Tyneside recently and released in 1955, is a study of a marriage on the rocks.
Varda, who began her working life as a theatre photographer, became fascinated by film. She first tinkered with the medium when she went to film La Pointe Courte, which is a small French fishing village, on behalf of a terminally ill friend who loved the place and couldn’t get there any more.
While there, she decided to make her first feature film which she gave the same name. The film, featuring professional actors and local people, is seen as a precursor to the French New Wave.