RIT supports Agnès Varda film series at Eastman’s Dryden Theatre

Month-long series features short films, documentaries and feature films of famed director




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Rochester Institute of Technology is teaming up with the George Eastman Museum to present a retrospective film series, Agnès Varda: (Self)-Portraits. Facts and Fiction, starting Jan. 27 at the Eastman’s Dryden Theatre, 900 East Ave.

Varda, of Paris, is still directing films at age 87. She received a lifetime achievement award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, celebrating an extraordinary and complex career spanning more than six decades and several continents.

“This film series offers a chance to track the arc of that career, screening her most celebrated films and rarely seen gems alike,” said Rebecca J. DeRoo, assistant professor in the RIT’s Department of Performing Arts and Visual Culture and the Museum Studies Program. She is co-curating the series with Jurij Meden, curator of moving images at the George Eastman Museum.

All screenings will be introduced presented by various members of RIT faculty.

“What piqued my interest about her was here you have a living, working artist who has achieved world acclaim, but only a narrow band of people here know about her,” said Carl Atkins, professor and chair of the Department of Performing Arts & Visual Culture, who will be introducing two films on Feb. 17. “What this does is bring her accomplishments to a broader audience.”

DeRoo, who is writing a book on the work of Varda, called her one of the most significant voices in international cinema.

“Varda’s poetic wit interweaves photography and film, reality and fiction. This series is a wonderful opportunity to bring together interdisciplinary faculty expertise at RIT with that of the George Eastman Museum, world-renowned for its collections and exhibitions in these fields,” DeRoo said.

Varda’s early films La Pointe Courte and Cleo from 5 to 7 led to her reputation as the foundational “mother” of the French New Wave movement of the 1950s and 60s. Since then, Varda has worked globally, cultivating a forceful yet intimate style evoking her attachment to particular people and places, DeRoo said.

Varda has worked internationally, combining innovative aesthetics and global politics. Salut Les Cubains, for example, is a montage of more than 1,800 of her photographs exploring post-revolutionary Cuba. Her experimental documentaries combine fact and fiction, and develop a highly subjective and intimate style, evoking her attachment to particular people and places. Her recent cinematic self-portrait, The Beaches of Agnès, revisits important sites in her life and directorial career, incorporating previously unreleased footage from feature films and home movies as well as new multimedia work, DeRoo said.

The series is supported by RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Performing Arts and Visual Culture and the Museum Studies Program at RIT, and Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York City.

The films will be subtitled in English.

Admission is free for RIT students with ID; general admission is $8.

For details about the films in the series, visit the Eastman Museum website.

Schedule:

  • 8 p.m. Jan. 27, La Pointe Courte (1955): Presented by Babak Elahi, associate dean and professor of English.
  • 2 p.m. Jan. 31, Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962): Presented by Rebecca Scales, assistant professor, Department of History, and Rebecca DeRoo, assistant professor, Department of Performing Arts & Visual Culture, Museum Studies Program.
  • 8 p.m. Feb. 10, Happiness (Le Bonheur) (1965): Presented by Rebecca DeRoo, assistant professor, Department of Performing Arts & Visual Culture, Museum Studies Program.
  • 8 p.m. Feb. 17, Shorts by Agnès Varda: Diary of a Pregnant Woman (1958), Salut Les Cubains (1963), Uncle Yanco (1967), and Black Panthers (1968): Presented by Carl Atkins, professor and chair, Department of Performing Arts & Visual Culture.
  • 2 p.m. Feb. 21, Daguerreotypes (1976): Presented by Jessica Lieberman, associate professor, Department of Performing Arts & Visual Culture.
  • 8 p.m. Feb. 24, Vagabond (1985): Presented by Philippe Chavasse, French program coordinator, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures.
  • 2 p.m. Feb. 28, The Beaches of Agnes (2008): Presented by Adrianne Carageorge, associate professor, School of Film and Animation.