Edinburgh Film Seminar
23 October 2015: 2pm-5pm
LG.11, David Hume Tower
Professor Emma Wilson (University of Cambridge)
“Agnès Varda’s paintings: The Madonna del parto”
[Part of the Department of European Languages “Film and the other Arts” research strand]
In speaking about her inspiration for her film _Cléo de 5 à 7_ (1962) Varda offers insight into a broader issue in her filmmaking: her interest in and return to the visual arts, and painting above all. She says: ‘The force of painting is to provide works which can offer perpetual inspiration and rêverie’. Painting is, for her, a resource for holding and proposing affect, unspoken feelings. Varda’s visual archive, still images, paintings from museums, offer a repository of feeling, sensation and memory. They intimate and make visible something beyond what we see in the films themselves. I close in here on one masterwork, a painting in her private collection. This painting is Piero della Francesca’s _Madonna del Parto_ (painted sometime after 1475) and on display in Monterchi. This painting, I argue, is an important point of reference in Varda’s first feature film, _La Pointe Courte_ (1954).
Emma Wilson is Professor of French Literature and the Visual Arts at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College. Her books include _Cinema’s Missing Children_(2003), _Alain Resnais_ (2006), _Atom Egoyan_ (2009) and _Love, Mortality and the Moving Image_ (2012). She is currently working on a project about women filmmakers and photographers working in Paris.