Agnès Varda: Daguerreotypes (Daguerréotypes)

Daguerreotypes (Daguerréotypes), Agnès Varda, 80’, France, ZDF 24.6.1975, OV with English subtitles

The photographer became the filmmaker and later the visual artist Agnès Varda, but her love for portraiture permeates her entire oeuvre. She often just went to the front door to study people’s faces, never from a distance, always as one of them. She dedicates the documentary film Daguerreotypes to the Rue Daguerre in Paris: she observes the places of her own everyday life, glances through the shop windows of small stores and craftsmen. She herself says she wants to be part of the work, but also of the time spent waiting for customers. The ZDF text states: “With her camera, Agnès Varda has written a cinematic diary of the lives of her neighbours. They live life as if out of an album of yellowed daguerreotypes.” The film shows a world that was already disappearing in 1975 and no longer exists today.

Agnès Varda (1928–2019) was a well-known French photographer, filmmaker and artist. After her early professional years as a photojournalist, she began working on experimental essay, feature and documentary films in 1954. For Vagabond, she received the Golden Lion in Venice in 1985. For her life’s work, she has received awards in Cannes, Locarno, Berlin, the European Film Award and an Oscar. Her later work as an installation artist was shown for the first time in Germany in 2022 at silent green in the exhibition The Third Life of Agnès Varda together with a film series at Arsenal cinema. In 1975, she made Daguerreotypes for Das kleine Fernsehspiel.