Real People: The Films of Agnes Varda

Though often associated with the French New Wave of the 1960s, Belgian-born filmmaker Agnes Varda was never limited to—nor indeed fully accepted by—that movement. Looking at four important films from 1962 to 2000, this course will focus less on situating the filmmaker within a given genre, and instead on how Varda’s political and social sensibilities can be felt through her art.

Varda often made her commitment to political causes known in short documentaries such as "Salut les Cubains!" (1963), "Black Panthers" (1968), and the second-wave feminist gem "Women Reply" (1975), as well as the pro-choice musical ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN'T (1977). Yet Varda was equally masterful at creating less immediately “political” portraits of everyday people that nonetheless are deeply revealing of the society in which they live. Varda’s focus on female subjectivity, her empathetic view of working people, and her examination of rural poverty and urban inequality all point to worldview that is at once resistant and hopeful. As the director comments in her last film, VARDA PAR AGNES (2019), “People are at the heart of my work. Real people.”

Tuition is $75 ($60 for Hollywood Theatre/Movie Madness members) and includes four classes and eight free rentals at Movie Madness. Each class will feature an introduction, a film screening, and brief discussion.

Classes will be held Thursday nights in May (5/7, 5/14, 5/21, 5/28) at the Movie Madness Miniplex. Classes begin at 7pm and will last approximately 3 hours. Class size is limited to 18. Register now.

Instructor Bio:

Anna Weltner is a non-fiction writer and filmmaker. A former arts journalist, she studied film and art history at Portland State University, and specializes in experimental and documentary films that combine these disciplines. Her films have been screened locally at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Erickson Gallery, and the Portland Underground Film Festival (PUFF), as well as at the Bechdel Film Festival in Houston, Texas. She works by day as a footage researcher for a media production company, and by night as an editor of educational short films.

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