Her family said she died at home in Paris on Thursday (March 28) due to complications from cancer.
Varda was born in Ixelles, Belgium, in 1928, and grew up to study photography and art history in university.
In 1955, she made her first film, La Pointe Courte, which is widely regarded to be the first film of French new wave cinema, though the name of the movement had not yet been coined.
Amongst her most famous films are Cléo from 5 to 7, Vagabond, Jacquot de Nantes, The Gleaners and I, and Faces Places — the latter earning her an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature and making her the oldest person to be nominated for a competitive Oscar.
Throughout her career, Varda received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Film Academy, an honorary Palme d'Or at Cannes and the Academy Honorary Award. In 2017, she was promoted to Grand officier de la Légion d'honneur in France.
Below, see some of the outpouring of memories and messages for the late filmmaker from social media.
Immense sadness. For almost 65 years, Agnès Varda's eyes and voice embodied cinema with endless inventiveness. The place she occupied is irreplaceable. Agnès loved images, words and people. She's one of those whose youth will never fade. pic.twitter.com/cpquJXJtwK— Festival de Cannes (@Festival_Cannes) March 29, 2019
"In my films I want to make people see deeply. I don't want to show things but to give people the desire to see." — Agnès Varda, leading light of the French New Wave. Rest in Power ❤️ (1928–2019) pic.twitter.com/B6PnwZUMS3— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) March 29, 2019
RIP Agnès Varda, a icon of independent cinema before it even had that name. 'Faces Places' was an inventive, funny capper on an extraordinary career. Was funny to see her, smiling with bemusement, on the 2017 Oscar circuit. She knew she didn't need one. She was already a legend. pic.twitter.com/RDYP0Zi12O— edgarwright (@edgarwright) March 29, 2019
Agnès. I don't know that there's an artist in any medium who has influenced me more. She taught me that autobiography is not indulgence, gave me the courage to put myself into my work. I'm so grateful I got to write an ode to her last year. RIP a genius. 😽https://t.co/CRblgP62b3— Lindsay Zoladz (@lindsayzoladz) March 29, 2019
I can't believe Agnès Varda is gone. What an inspiration. pic.twitter.com/FkxnGotlbH— Barbara H. (@behalla63) March 29, 2019
And let us never forget the time Agnes Varda sent a cardboard cutout of herself to the Oscars nominee luncheon. pic.twitter.com/3UcDwsgdNw— Doug Jamieson (@itsdougjam) March 29, 2019
cléo journal owes its name to Agnès Varda's CLÈO FROM 5 TO 7, but we owe her so much more than that.— cléo journal (@cleojournal) March 29, 2019
For everything you've given to cinema and the artists you have inspired — thank you.
R.I.P. Agnès pic.twitter.com/bmVyigl2E7
Agnes Varda. She gave us so much, and was as generous a person as I have met. One of cinema's greatest artists. RIP and miigwetch for the inspiration, the art, the laughs and for being you.— Jesse Wente (@jessewente) March 29, 2019
Thank you, Agnès Varda, for sharing the world with us 🖤 pic.twitter.com/6JEbwUaCd8— nic (@lynchians) March 29, 2019
She wasn't a cute old lady.— Cameron Bailey (@cameron_tiff) March 29, 2019
She was a great artist. She had the instincts, the wit and the generosity to her make art anywhere, and offer it to all of us.
For decades she didn't get her due, because she was a woman, because she was kind. Rest in power, Agnès. pic.twitter.com/d2hzywUtHG