Agnes Varda Remembered As Influential Director Who ‘Lived Fully for Every Moment’

“Work and life were undeniably fused for this legend,” filmmaker Barry Jenkins says

Emma Stone (L) and Agnes Varda
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Johnnie Walker

French New Wave filmmaker Agnes Varda is being remembered by Hollywood as not just a legendary, influential director and pioneering voice for independent cinema, but also as a charming presence to all those she came in contact with.

“For my shooting star, wherever you are,” the French street artist JR, who collaborated with Varda on 2017’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Faces Places,” wrote on Twitter.

“Work and life were undeniably fused for this legend. She lived FULLY for every moment of those 90 damn years,” director Barry Jenkins wrote on Twitter.

“I seriously doubt that Agnès Varda ever followed in anyone else’s footsteps, in any corner of her life or her art … which were one in the same. She charted and walked her own path each step of the way, she and her camera,” Martin Scorsese said in a statement to TheWrap. “Every single one of her remarkable handmade pictures, so beautifully balanced between documentary and fiction, is like no one else’s — every image, every cut … What a body of work she left behind: movies big and small, playful and tough, generous and solitary, lyrical and unflinching … and alive.

“I saw her for the last time a couple of months ago. She knew that she didn’t have much longer, and she made every second count: she didn’t want to miss a thing. I feel so lucky to have known her. And to all young filmmakers: you need to watch Agnès Varda’s pictures,” the Oscar winner added.

Varda died Thursday at age 90 from complications with cancer while surrounded by family and friends. The director of films such as “Cleo from 5 to 7,” “Vagabond,” “The Beaches of Agnes” and many more also received an honorary Oscar in 2017, the first given to a female director.

Filmmakers like Edgar Wright, the Safdie Brothers and other filmmakers were early to praise the late director, with Wright sharing a story about meeting Varda on the awards circuit in 2017.

“Was funny to see her, smiling with bemusement, on the 2017 Oscar circuit. She knew she didn’t need one. She was already a legend,” Wright said on Twitter. “On a side note, I was at the 2017 Governor’s Award when she won her career achievement Oscar. On the same table as me was an actress who I’d never met, but hugely admired. She then talked and texted all the way through Agnès speech. I have never liked her much since.”

“The DGA mourns the loss of iconic director Agnès Varda, a leading influence in the French New Wave. Her innovative approach to filmmaking has inspired directors the world over,” Directors Guild of America president Thomas Schlamme said in a statement. “Agnès famously said, ‘In my films, I always wanted to make people see deeply. I don’t want to show things, but to give people the desire to see.’ We thank her for lighting that desire, and for six decades of cinematic inspiration.”

See more reactions to Varda’s passing below.