Agnès Varda’s movies were dreams spun by a woman, a punk rock pixie whose gaze–wide and eternally bemused–was amazing to behold but even more amazing to share.
A powerful female director when the world had few, she spun her dervish dreams while the rest of us stumbled stridently in linear time. While watching her films, I always calmed down and also came alive. Not one did I watch on a small screen. That would have been a profaning of her magic–that wondering wonderful movie magic that she birthed while like lovers and children we sat at her feet.
Once at a luncheon I was seated next her—the host thought we’d like each other–and I was struck uncharacteristically dumb. Her lavender-auburn coupe à la Jeanne d’Arc, her oyster smile, her puckish striped costume, they were all like her movies and it was just too good. Both object and subject, she was art and artist–what woman are trained to be, what women fight to be–and as we ate our lunch she asked good questions while her eyes told much more. I wish I’d asked more, said more, taken the hands off the clock. But then again, there are some people from whom we can never get enough. Fairy godmother, thank you for sharing your gaze. You showed us life.