A Woman Within History
This chapter examines a sample of selected films of Agnès Varda and argues that her cinematographic practice has always engaged with the corporeal, and that as a consequence it constitutes a decisive contribution to feminism. The three pieces chosen — L'Opéra Mouffe, Daguérréotypes and Les Veuves de Noirmoutier — were shot years apart and span Varda's career. The first two films can be considered as part of the ‘cinéma de quartier’ (‘local cinema shooting’) that Varda frequently practices. Both were shot in Paris and focus on a well-defined space and its residents. The conditions of exhibition of Les Veuves de Noirmoutier were different from those of the two earlier films selected, but this installation piece makes for a more comprehensive and wide-ranging corpus. Analysing the role of bodies in the films, and discussing the experimental and essayistic nature of Varda's work, the chapter establishes how the subjective and personal intersect with collective experiences and memory.
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