After receiving an honorary Oscar in 2017 and an honorary Palme d’Or in 2015, iconic auteur Agnes Varda received a career tribute at the 17th Marrakech Film Festival during a star-studded ceremony on Sunday.
Varda’s tribute was introduced by Cannes Film Festival’s artistic director Thierry Fremaux and French actress Chiara Mastroianni. Martin Scorsese, who presented the tribute to Robert De Niro the day before, was there as well and came up on stage to pose with Varda, along with her children, the director Mathieu Demy and Rosalie Varda, the artist JR, who collaborated with Varda on “Faces, Places,” and Melita Toscan du Plantier, director of Marrakech Film Festival.
“Francois Truffaut used to say that in the (French film industry), the boss was Jean Renoir. When it comes to women, the boss is Agnes Varda,” said Fremaux, who started off his speech with a few words on three revered industry figures who have recently died, French producer Francis Boespflug, publicist Richard Lormand (who played a key role in organizing this edition of Marrakech Film Festival) and French producer/distributor Samuel Hadida.
Mastroianni, meanwhile, thanked Varda for “signing in 1971 the Manifesto of the 343 women – back then people called it the Manifesto of the 343 Sluts.” It was “just the beginning of the feminist revolution,” said the actress, whose mother Catherine Deneuve also signed text, which aimed at supporting reproductive rights at a time when abortions were illegal in France.
Varda, who has depicted with empathy characters on the margins in many of her films, including “Vagabond,” “The Gleaners and I” and “Faces, Places,” spoke about the under-privileged of this world in her speech.
“The world is in perils. There are thousands of people who are fighting to survive, to find some work, to receive a decent salary, to get a little dignity, and a little bit of happiness; and million of human beings who are seeking refuge,” said Varda, who was born in Belgium and has lived in France since World War II.
“We are conscious about it, and it forces us to maintain certain values and defend them. Love of others, knowledge of others, respect of others. Giving them a voice, sharing, that’s what I believe in.”
While at the Marrakech Film Festival, Varda is also set to give a masterclass. She is currently working on a documentary film.