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AFI FEST Announces Film Selections by Agnès Varda, Guest Artistic Director


LOS ANGELES, CA, September 18, 2013 – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced a program of four films selected by Guest Artistic Director Agnès Varda to screen at AFI FEST 2013 presented by Audi.  Varda, once a resident of Los Angeles, makes a rare return to present and discuss her work at AFI FEST.  As an additional tribute to Varda, photos from her influential French New Wave film CLEO FROM 5 to 7 (CLÉO DE 5 À 7) are featured in this year’s festival marketing and programming materials.

As Guest Artistic Director, Varda has selected films that have inspired her throughout her six-decade career:  PICKPOCKET (DIR Robert Bresson, 1959), A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (DIR John Cassavetes, 1974), THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN (DIR Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1979) and AFTER HOURS (DIR Martin Scorsese, 1985).  In addition, the festival will be screening a selection of Varda’s films, including restored versions of CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 (CLÉO DE 5 À 7) and DOCUMENTEUR. 

“It’s always good to be chosen, but it’s funny to be chosen to choose, therefore I immediately accepted the invitation from AFI FEST to propose some films for their program,” said Agnès Varda.  “They suggested that I pick some films that have influenced me.  Alas, I can’t.  When I wrote and shot my first film in 1954, LA POINT COURTE, I had hardly seen 10 films.  My culture was books, painting and theatre.  Alain Resnais, who edited my film, was the one who told me about cinema and suggested that I go to the Cinemathèque, which I had not approached before.  If I had seen the masterpieces that I discovered later I certainly would not have dared to create a film at 26.  My ignorance gave me freedom and audacity.  For AFI FEST I chose four films that have been important in my life.  For the subjects, the style that I call cinewriting, the radical choices and specific sensibilities, among some other films, I chose THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN, one pearl of Fassbinder films, PICKPOCKET by Bresson for its singular way of interpreting the art of stealing.  As an hommage to two American directors, I chose Scorsese and Cassavetes.  From Scorsese, AFTER HOURS, a strange ephemeral nightmare beautifully treated, and from Cassavetes one of my favorite among all: WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, a delicate and complex portrait of a woman as well as of the people around her.  Actually, to choose is always painful.”

This year’s festival artwork features iconic imagery from one of Varda’s most influential films, CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 (CLÉO DE 5 À 7), and puts a spotlight on its timeless star Corrinne Marchand, who plays Cleo.  In creating a visual dialogue for the moving image, the creative materials represent the global, iconic, independent and auteur influence that defines the festival’s program.

Varda and her daughter Rosalie Varda recently oversaw the restoration of THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (LES PARAPLUIES DE CHERBOURG), a film made by her late husband Jacques Demy.  AFI FEST will screen the film in honor of its 50th anniversary and restoration. 

Varda, often called the “Mother of the French New Wave,” has directed over 30 films, including the César winning documentary THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS (LES PLAGES D’ AGNÈS), VAGABOND (SANS TOIT NI LOI), which was awarded the Golden Lion, JACQUOT (JACQUOT DE NANTES) and THE GLEANERS AND I (LES GLANEURS ET LA GLANEUSE).

Varda’s grandson, Valentin Vignet, graduated from AFI Conservatory in 2010.

Varda joins an impressive list of Guest Artistic Directors at AFI FEST that includes Bernardo Bertolucci, Pedro Almodóvar and David Lynch, an alumnus of the AFI Conservatory.

Leading up to the festival, which takes place November 7 through 14 in Hollywood, CA, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will be presenting “Agnès Varda in Californialand” from November 3, 2013 – June 22, 2014, the first U.S. museum presentation of her artwork.  This exhibition coincides with LACMA’s efforts, with the support of the Annenberg Foundation and The Film Foundation, to restore four films made by Varda in California:  BLACK PANTHERS, LIONS LOVE (…AND LIES), MUR MURS and UNCLE YANCO.  “Agnès Varda in Californialand” is accompanied by an extensive film series organized by LACMA.  The exhibition is part of LACMA’s Art+Film initiative, a large-scale effort to consider the place of film within a museum context.

For the fifth consecutive year, AFI FEST will offer free tickets to all screenings.  Moviegoers may register online to receive a time slot to select free tickets to AFI screenings before the festival begins.  Online registration opens on Tuesday, October 8 and closes on Friday, October 18.  Festival passes are on sale now and provide priority access to galas, high-demand films and events.  AFI members at the Two Star level and above receive a 10% discount on all Patron Packages and Passes.  Information about AFI membership is available at

For the 10th year, Audi returns as the festival’s presenting sponsor.  Additional sponsors include American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; The American Film Market (AFM); AT&T; Coca Cola; The Egyptian Theatre; Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; National Geographic Channel; Stella Artois and TCL Chinese Theatre, among many others. 

About Agnès Varda
Varda has often been called both the mother and the grandmother of the French New Wave movement.  Trained as a visual artist and without any formal cinematic training, she created her current film production company Cine-Tamaris in 1954 to write and direct her first feature film, LA POINTE COURTE, which is often considered the unofficial first New Wave film.  After releasing several documentaries she released the influential nouvelle vague film CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 in 1962, which brought her much acclaim.  Over the years Varda continued to be a force in art cinema.

Varda has directed over 30 films and received many accolades including the César Award for best documentary for THE BEACHES OF AGNES (LES PLAGES D’AGNES) and the Golden Lion for VAGABOND (SANS TOIT NI LOI). 

In 2003, Varda went back to her artistic roots and has been focusing on the visual arts including installations, videos and photography.

In 2013, she became a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

About the American Film Institute
AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers.
  AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film – now in its 42nd year; AFI Awards, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI Fest presented by Audi, AFI Docs presented by Audi and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world renowned AFI Conservatory, recognized for the quality of its instructors and speakers and its notable alumni. For more information about AFI, visit or connect with AFI at, and

About AFI FEST presented by Audi
A program of the American Film Institute, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a celebration of global cinema and today’s Hollywood – a showcase for the best festival films of the year and an opportunity for master filmmakers and emerging artists to come together with audiences in the movie capital of the world.  AFI FEST is the only festival of its stature that is free to the public.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for both Short Film categories for the annual Academy Awards®.  This year’s edition takes place November 7-14, 2013.  Additional information about AFI FEST is available at  Connect with AFI FEST at, and

About Audi
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles.  AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally.  Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2012, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S.  Through 2016, AUDI AG will invest about $17 billion on new products and technologies.  Visit or for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.

Shari Mesulam, AFI FEST, 323.856.7896 or [email protected]

Film stills are available for press use only and can be downloaded at: