La Pointe Courte (1955), Agnès Varda’s first film, is often considered one of the major precursors for the French New Wave, a movement that would begin a few years later with (depending on who you ask) either Claude Chabrol’s Le Beau Serge (1958) or François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959). Varda has been branded the “Mother of the New Wave,” but her origins as a filmmaker differ from her contemporaries. She was not a cinephile, and did not begin as a critic or through film industry apprenticeships. Rather, she began her aesthetic life as a photographer and student of art history, and I would argue her films tend to be more humanistic, more outward-looking than several of the more prominent New Wave directors.
In this video, I examine the two stylistic trends in La Pointe Courte — neo-realism and formalism — suggesting that we can find these trends throughout Varda’s filmography.
The IU Cinema has previously screened multiple Varda films:
- Black Panthers (1969) in February 2018 as part of the Wounded Galaxies 1968 Festival
- Faces Places (2017) in December 2017 as part of the International Arthouse Series
- Agnès Varda Shorts (1968-2004) in November 2011 as part of the Underground Film Series
Laura Ivins loves stop motion, home movies, imperfect films, nature hikes, and Stephen Crane’s poetry. She has a PhD from Indiana University and an MFA from Boston University. In addition to watching and writing about movies, sometimes she also makes them.