Potatoes are currently being laid outside Rue Daguerre, the former home of hugely influential director Agnes Varda. Varda referred to herself as “Dame Patate”, dressed up as a potato for one of her movies and also created the art installation “Patatutopia”, which featured footage of 1,500lbs of Idaho potatoes in transit.
But she was more than just tubers. Starting her career as a photographer, she took the artistic ideas of that medium to the burgeoning French new wave in the 1950s, with works like La Pointe Courte and her revolutionary Cléo from 5 to 7. Her films mixed documentary with fiction, had a strong feminist bent and often avoided Paris for the more forgotten parts of rural and unindustrialised France. As part of an effusive obituary, Martin Scorsese himself paid perhaps the ultimate compliment: “And to all young filmmakers: you need to watch Agnès Varda’s pictures.”