Richard Brody at The New Yorker:
Agnès Varda’s film “Varda by Agnès,” which is being released posthumously, on Friday (she died in March, at the age of ninety), is her retrospective of her own career, punctuated by deep dives into her personal life and newly filmed sidebars of interviews and self-displaying theatrics. Yet it’s more than just Varda’s last movie; it’s the last scene of her last act, the capper to a twenty-year span of work that includes some of her most original and significant films. At the same time, this period in her career and her life coincides with a shift in the history of cinema that she helped to define and that she responded to with a practical inspiration that is a mark of her historic art. That very story is one that she tells in “Varda by Agnès.”
Varda relies on a pair of public discussions to structure the overview of her career. The first hour leaps around, juxtaposing her films from different decades and circumstances by way of her insightful thematic connections, and ends at a crucial waypoint in her life: her last dramatic feature, which she made in the mid-nineteen-nineties.