The death of Agnes Varda, a French New Wave icon who was loved and revered around the world, has triggered an outpouring of heartfelt tributes paying homage to her legacy, pioneering work and generous personality.
Martin Scorsese paid tribute to Varda on Instagram.
“What a body of work she left behind: movies big and small, playful and tough, generous and solitary, lyrical and unflinching…and alive,” he wrote. “I saw her for the last time a couple of months ago. She knew that she didn’t have much longer, and she made every second count: she didn’t want to miss a thing. I feel so lucky to have known her.”
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I seriously doubt that Agnès Varda ever followed in anyone else’s footsteps, in any corner of her life or her art…which were one in the same. She charted and walked her own path each step of the way, she and her camera. Every single one of her remarkable handmade pictures, so beautifully balanced between documentary and fiction, is like no one else’s—every image, every cut… What a body of work she left behind: movies big and small, playful and tough, generous and solitary, lyrical and unflinching…and alive. I saw her for the last time a couple of months ago. She knew that she didn’t have much longer, and she made every second count: she didn’t want to miss a thing. I feel so lucky to have known her. And to all young filmmakers: you need to watch Agnès Varda’s pictures. Rest in price Agnès.
“Immense sadness. For almost 65 years, Agnès Varda’s eyes and voice embodied cinema with endless inventiveness,” the Cannes Film Festival tweeted. “The place she occupied is irreplaceable. Agnès loved images, words and people. She’s one of those whose youth will never fade.”
JR, the French artist and humanitarian who was a close collaborator of Varda and notably teamed with her on her critically-acclaimed documentary “Faces, Places,” also payed tribute to Varda, calling her his “shooting star.”
“Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins also took to Twitter to celebrate Varda whom he said remains a “legend.”
The president of the French National Film Board, Frederique Bredin, said in a statement that Varda was “generous, joyful, profoundly humane.”
“Agnès Varda enlightened our lives with her films, which were insanely inventive….What she brought us through her work and through her battles to improve the condition of women is priceless,” Bredin wrote.
Cannes’ former president Gilles Jacob wrote on Twitter that Varda’s films “are our treasure. A national treasure: that of the French spirit.”
French film promotion organization UniFrance wrote that “the sadness will never end.”
Kering chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault
“It is a truly sad day when the great lady and incomparable artist, Agnès Varda, passes away,” he said in a statement. “A cinema icon, a woman of commitment, a tireless feminist and an extraordinary artist, she conquered the world with her unique perspective on reality and creativity. We will miss her sense of fantasy, her poetic charm and her distinctive voice in the world. The gift she leaves us is her enlightening way of being in the world, with immense simplicity. It permeated all her work, and it remains with us today. Her family, and everyone that she inspired, enchanted and took with her on a journey of the imagination –- and who returned from that journey having grown, and changed –- are in my thoughts. A great creative force, and a marvelous woman, has left us. We will miss her forever.”
U.K.-based filmmaker Jörg Tittel, a family friend of Varda, was also among those to pay her an emotional tribute.