Agnès Varda is a prolific film director, photographer, and artist whose cinematic career spans more than six decades. Today she is best known as the innovative “mother” of the French New Wave film movement of the 1950s and '60s and for her multimedia art exhibitions. Varying her use of different media, she is a figure who defies easy categorization. In this extensively researched book, Rebecca J. DeRoo demonstrates how Varda draws upon the histories of art, photography, and film to complicate the overt narratives in her works and to advance contemporary cultural politics. Based on interviews with Varda and unparalleled access to Varda's archives, this interdisciplinary study constructs new frameworks for understanding one of the most versatile talents in twentieth and twenty-first century culture.
Rebecca J. DeRoo is Assistant Professor in the Department of Performing Arts and Visual Culture at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the author of The Museum Establishment and Contemporary Art, recipient of the 2007 Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies. She cocurated the retrospective Agnès Varda: (Self-)Portraits, Facts and Fiction at the George Eastman Museum (2016).
"Rebecca DeRoo’s latest publication, Agnès Varda between Film, Photography, and Art, offers her readers a dazzling study of the filmmaker's cinematographic art. Not only does DeRoo propose a refreshingly new dialogic approach to Varda’s cinematic aesthetics, narrative practice, and sociopolitics, her analyses of individual films are full of insights that also, where appropriate, challenge established readings of Varda’s work. This is truly a gem of a book."—Susan Hayward, Professor of Cinema Studies Emerita, University of Exeter
“With extraordinary access to Agnès Varda’s papers and production materials, Rebecca DeRoo’s study uniquely illuminates what Varda called the 'three lives of Agnès'—as photographer, filmmaker, and visual artist. The author insightfully tracks Varda’s generative semantic slippages across different media and also provides a smart reevaluation of the filmmaker’s restless inventiveness. Essentially reframing Varda’s anomalous place in film history, DeRoo’s refined analysis and detailed references to film, art, and photography history help reveal Varda’s multivalent work, showing the constant purpose and experimentation animating her audiovisual, tactile, and memorial sensibility.” —Ivone Margulies, Professor of Film and Media Studies, Hunter College, CUNY
“In this pathbreaking revisionist study, art and cinema historian Rebecca DeRoo uses multiple political and cultural contexts to reframe the existing dialogue about the work and contributions to cinema history made by the New Wave French film director Agnès Varda. Stressing issues that are aesthetic, theoretical, feminist, and political, DeRoo redirects the biographical narratives that have been favored in the literature on Varda, challenges conventional interpretations of Varda's films, and recasts the reception of Varda’s work over the space of six decades as an index to the cultural and political assumptions of those years. In an era when the boundaries between cinema and other art forms have become increasingly blurred, DeRoo’s approach to Varda’s work is a productive and exemplary intersection between cinema studies and art history.” —Norma Broude, Professor of Art History Emerita, American University