The Beaches of Agnès
Agnès Varda’s feature follow up to The Gleaners and I finds her foraging through her own 50-plus-year filmography to create a kaleidoscopic memoir. Varda revisits her youth in Belgium, adolescence in the ancient fishing village of Sète, early forays in photography, her marriage to director Jacques Demy, and her own prolific filmmaking career. Along the way, she employs the marvels of cinema—not to mention some of its greatest stars who over the years have appeared in her films such as Catherine Deneuve, Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Harrison Ford, and Jane Birkin—to mesh reality and dream, the past and present, longing and mirth, and the personal and political. In a single film, Varda seems to encompass her entire life’s work including her recent transition to installation pieces. The Beaches of Agnès achieves an intriguing blend of mischievousness and poignancy, cementing Varda’s place as cinema’s poet laureate of the lyrical in the everyday, the majestic in the fortuitous.