#TIFF: VARDA OPENS TODAY
Varda, TIFF’s new café-bar and lounge, officially opens Friday, October 6 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Designed as a welcoming and inspiring space to gather, TIFF is inviting people from all over the GTA to join the opening-day celebrations from 5pm to 7pm; sample Varda’s snack menu, prepared by Toronto-Chef Trevor Lui; and toast the French director Agnès Varda, who inspired the space and concept.
“In re-imagining this third floor space, we looked to the visionary Agnès Varda for inspiration ― her spirit of creativity and exploration informed not just the look and feel of the space, but the atmosphere and energy that a space like this could provide,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF CEO. “Just as Varda’s films captured the essence of life and humanity, our café aspires to create a space where people can come together, share stories, and forge meaningful connections.”
A destination for delicious drinks, a place to stop by and meet with friends, and a hotspot to take in the bright lights of King Street, Varda is open Wednesday to Friday, 9am–10pm and Saturday to Sunday, 11am–10pm, with special cinq à sept offerings throughout October in homage to Varda’s beloved classic film, Cléo de 5 à 7. During opening weekend, audiences can catch special screenings of this film, as well as Jane B. par Agnès V. and a performance by pianist Jennifer Lo.
Varda’s seasonal snack menu, designed by Chef Lui, features small bites from guacamame dip (a blend of pulsed edamame and avocado dip) with wonton chips to Chinese charcuterie. For drinks, an assortment of the late director’s favourite teas from Genuine Tea and coffee from local roaster De Mello will be on offer. The spirits menu features signature cocktails like the French 75 and the Rosalie Royale, named after Varda’s daughter Rosalie, which is punctuated by crème-de-cassis, sparkling wine, Angostura bitters, and floral bitter. In the mornings, a rotation of decadent and buttery French pastries from De Mello.
Varda is one part of a full-scale transformation of TIFF’s third-floor renovation. Designed by Toronto-based creative studio DesignAgency, the sprawling corridor and its adjacent spaces are highlighted by new seating areas throughout, creating the star of the transformed third floor. An elegant marble and cork bar, topped by a polished brass gantry, draws guests into the lounge and sets a glamorous mood. Intimate seating, acoustic wall panelling, and layers of plush textures ensure a quietly luxurious experience.
Varda Opening-Weekend Programme at TIFF Bell Lightbox
October 6, 5–7pm: Complimentary celebration ― open to all, featuring a performance by pianist Jennifer Lo.
October 7, 4pm: Cléo de 5 à 7, Varda’s second and arguably her most well-known feature is the only work by a woman filmmaker recognized as part of the nouvelle vague canon. Following Cléo (Corinne Marchand), a coquettish cabaret singer, as she wanders the streets of Paris while awaiting the possibly dire results of a medical test, Varda traces the inner growth of her female flâneuse from constructed feminine ideal to more fully realized person over the course of an eventful afternoon. Ticketed event. Free to Members.
October 8, 3:45pm: Jane B. par Agnès V.,a portrait of the iconic actress, singer, model Jane Birkin as “an imaginary biopic,” is a barrelling succession of fantastical scenarios and roles that sprang from the minds and musings of both the director and her subject. A playful exploration of the magical inner lives of both women, which makes bedfellows of fact and fantasy as it ruminates on the nature of performance with a candour of spirit (if not situation) that transfixes and enchants. Ticketed event. Free to Members.
October also marks the introduction of Member Tuesdays at TIFF Bell Lightbox, which offers exclusive access to Varda for Members from 5–10pm complementing a full slate of programming curated with Members in mind. This includes 5 à 7 drink special year-round, the return of Secret Movie Club, Member-exclusive events, additional free Cinematheque screenings, and more to be announced.