French director professor Agnes Varda will be honoured with the prestigious Palme d’Or at the upcoming Cannes International Film Festival . The 86-year-old filmmaker becomes the first woman to be selected for this distinction,
So far only Woody Allen (2002), Clint Eastwood (2009) and Bernardo Bertolucci (2011) have previously been honoured to receive the Palme d’Or.
Director Varda said "And yet my films have never sold as much as theirs!"
She was previously awarded the Carosse D'Or award, in recognition of her life's work, during the director's fortnight part of Cannes in 2010.
Cannes festival organisers said "Her work and her life are infused with the spirit of freedom, the art of driving back boundaries, a fierce determination and a conviction that brooks no obstacles."
They added "Simply put, Varda seems capable of accomplishing everything she wants."
The prize is only given to directors who have had "a global impact", but have not won a Palme d'Or before.
Varda, 86, was one of the main figures of the French New Wave film movement, often called “The Mother of the New Wave” along with Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut.
Her films include ‘Vagabond’, which won the Venice film festival's Golden Lion in 1985, and ‘Jacquot de Nantes’, about the life of her late husband, film director Jacques Demy.
The festival starts on May 13. Directors Joel and Ethan Coen will be chairing the jury.