Agnès Varda (French: ; born 30 May 1928) is a Belgian-born French film director. Her films, photographs, and art installations focus on documentary realism, feminist issues, and social commentary with a distinctive experimental style. She has spent most of her working life in France.
Film historians have cited Varda's work as central to the development of the French New Wave; her employment of location shooting and non-professional actors were unconventional in the context of 1950s French cinema.
Varda was born Arlette Varda on 30 May 1928 in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium, the daughter of Christiane (née Pasquet) and Eugène Jean Varda, an engineer. Her mother was from Sète, France and her father came from a family of Greek refugees from Asia Minor. She was the middle of five children. When she was 18 Varda legally changed her name to Agnès. During World War II Varda lived on a boat in Sète with the rest of her family. Varda attended the Lycée Victor-Duroy and received a Bachelor's degree in literature and psychology from the Sorbonne. She described her relocation to Paris as a "truly excruciating" one that gave her "a frightful memory of my arrival in this grey, inhumane, sad city." She did not get along with her fellow students at the Sorbonne and described classes there as "stupid, antiquated, abstract, scandalously unsuited for the lofty needs one had at that age."