Latest News:  
Beijing   Dust    21 / 12 ℃  City Forecast

Home>>Life & Culture

New Wave icon reinvents herself

By Zhou Yubin (Shanghai Daily)

08:44, April 27, 2012

A picture taken by Varda in 1957 in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. A class goes to the cinema, wearing goggles and masks, probably against the polluted air.

EIGHTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD French director Agns Varda is one of the mothers of invention and over the course of her life she has invented and reinvented herself, from photographer to acclaimed "godmother" of New Wave or Left Bank cinema to installation artist.

Calling herself "grandma punk" (she wears bright purple socks and red shoes), she spoke with humor about her creative journey on a stop in Shanghai for a French film exhibition, which included some of her works.

A major retrospective of her work - photo stills, film and installation - was held earlier in Beijing and then Wuhan, along with film screenings.

The French New Wave is notable for conscious rejection of classical cinema forms and focus on youthful iconoclasm. Varda's precursor films have a distinctly experimental style involving documentary realism and addressing feminist and social issues as well as time, aging and memory.

"I'm jealous of the cats that have nine lives, but I doubt I am going to have a fourth one," Varda said, referring to her installation art career. She calls it more age-appropriate and less strenuous than photography and filmmaking. Her short hair is white and brown and she jokes that it's "half natural, half artificial." Media have compared it to chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

The exhibition featured some of her most famous installations, such as the heart-shaped potatoes she collected and her half-century-old pictures of China. They were taken in 1957, during her first trip to China.

Although well-known as a film director (and the mother, grandmother and godmother) of French New Wave (or Left Bank) cinema, Varda began as a professional photographer.

Born in 1928 in Belgium, she moved to France with her family in 1940 and studied at the école du Louvre with a focus on art history and at école des Beaux-Arts with a focus on photography.

She then worked as a photographer at the Théatre National Populaire in Paris. She joined a group of French socialists and professionals invited by then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai for a trip around China in 1957, when China was still a relatively closed country.

【1】 【2】


Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Artists perform Kun Opera at UNESCO headquarters

  2. Tulip festival in Morges, Switzerland

  3. Chinese research vessel starts 26th oceanic expedition

  4. China Int'l Cartoon & Animation Festival in Hangzhou

Most Popular


  1. Relations reach new heights
  2. China opposes Philippine school in S. China Sea
  3. Top adviser's visit promotes friendship, cooperation
  4. Where does the world go from here?
  5. Panicky responses to shootings harm students
  6. ChiNext delisting policies ramp up risk for investors
  7. Motives behind Tokyo's claim to buy Diaoyu Islands
  8. Huangyan crisis hints long-term tensions
  9. Arab countries hold mixed feelings towards US
  10. Renminbi's global use growing

What's happening in China

Entering Jiaxi Nature Reserve in Hainan

  1. 2nd Beijing International Film Festival
  2. Chinese migrant workers' wages up 21.2%
  3. Railways ready for upcoming Labor Day holiday
  4. Chinese cities rank in top 20 retail hubs
  5. Pop culture T-shirts under fire

PD Online Data

  1. Spring Festival
  2. Chinese ethnic odyssey
  3. Yangge in Shaanxi
  4. Gaoqiao in Northern China
  5. The drum dance in Ansai