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Agnès Varda Season - ICA

The Beaches of Agnès, Agnès Varda, 2008

Event preview

THIS APRIL, the ICA Cinema will host a retrospective of leading French New-Wave director Agnès Varda’s works.

The season will include her rarely-seen debut feature La Pointe Courte (1955), edited by renowned Left Bank director Alain Resnais; her seminal Parisian flâneuse character study Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962); the Golden Lion-winning feminist drama Vagabond (1985); acclaimed documentary The Gleaners and I (2000) and her recent self-portrait The Beaches of Agnès (2008).

La Pointe Courte – Friday, April 26 at 6.30pm. Cinema 1. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions, £7 ICA Members.

Agnès Varda’s film career began with this graceful, penetrating study of a marriage on the rocks. The film weaves two tales together: one follows a young couple (including a young Phillipe Noiret of Cinema Paradiso fame) as they visit a small Mediterranean fishing village to decide whether to stay together or break up, and the other follows the residents of the village, largely fishermen and their wives and children as they live their lives – disputing fishing rights with government inspectors, suffering the death of a young child and falling in and out of love. A gorgeously filmed, radical debut that still has the power to change the way we look at cinema.

La Pointe Courte, Dir. Agnès Varda, France 1955, 86 mins, cert. PG

Vagabond – Sunday, April 28 at 4pm. Cinema 1. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions, £7 ICA Members.

Varda’s heartbreaking film opens with the jarring death of a young homeless woman, Mona, found frozen to death in a ditch in the French countryside. From this startling opening, Mona’s story is told, accompanied by to-camera accounts of her by those who barely knew her and who touched her life over her final weeks.

Drifting through a nomadic existence Mona moves through villages and small towns, all the while moving away from her unknown life in the city and towards her end via a series of random encounters. A stunning tale, brilliantly told, Vagabond features an amazing performance from Sandrine Bonnaire (Secret Defense) as the impassive, tragic lead.

Vagabond, Dir. Agnès Varda, France 1985, 105 mins, cert. 15

Cléo from 5 to 7 – Sunday, April 28 at 6.30pm. Cinema 1. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions, £7 ICA Members.

Varda’s breakthrough film, Cléo from 5 to 7 is the story of a pampered chanteuse waiting 90 minutes for the results of a biopsy which will potentially change her life. The film boasts a brilliant central performance from Corinne Marchand as Cléo, subtly changing character as she matures from frothy superstitious starlet as she faces her own mortality.

Cléo from 5 to 7, Dir. Agnès Varda, France/Italy 1962, 86 mins, cert. PG

The Beaches of Agnès – Tuesday, April 30 at 6.30pm. Cinema 1. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions, £7 ICA Members.

Charting her extraordinary life with verve and humour, Agnès is the guide to her own life, taking a reflective journey through her Belgian childhood, her career in photography, and her switch to the moving image in the 1950s. Credited as the only female filmmaker in the French New Wave, Agnès is a legend, and this kaleidoscopic look at her career and personal life is a fascinating and illuminating joy.

The Beaches of Agnès, Dir. Agnès Varda, France 2008, 111 mins, cert. 1

The Gleaners and I – Thursday, May 2 at 6.30pm. Cinema 1. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions, £7 ICA Members.

A film all about finding value where others see nothing, this beautiful and eccentric documentary is the result of the filmmaker spending a year touring France to find and talk to the people who scavenge and salvage food left over by others. Ranging from those who glean to survive, to artists, activists and workers who use scavenged goods, the film ably examines class and culture, and even finds time to reflect upon the nature of cinema too. Bewitching.

The Gleaners and I, Dir. Agnès Varda, France 2000, 82 mins, cert.U

To book, call the box office on 020 7930 3647, Textphone 020 7839 0737, or visit