The Beaches of Agnes
At 80, French New Wave legend Agnes Varda creates a lucid and passionate cinematic memoir that is transformative in its effortless ability to connect the director's life story to her ever-present artistic impulses that are just as strong today as when she made "Chloe From 5 to 7." The film starts out with Varda and her crew placing a collection of mirrors on a sunny Belgian beach where she describes viewing landscapes in the internal natures of others, but timeless beaches within her own internal make-up. As she articulates her childhood, spent in the small port town of Sete, France where she learned to repair fishing nets, Varda's keen artistic awareness begins to seep from the screen with randomness, humor, and telling associational qualities. The film is an anti-documentary where the director/subject allows a scrapbook formlessness to imbue even carefully staged atmospheres that function as breathing artistic instillations. Full of clips from her famous, and lesser known films, "The Beaches of Agnes" is an imaginative reverie through a period of French cinema where filmmakers like Alain Renais, Jean Luc Godard, and Chris Marker found themselves in the company of a filmmaking force of nature called Agnes Varda. This is a self-reflexive character study that's too good to miss.
Not Rated. 110 mins. (A-) (Four Stars)
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