The Beaches of Agnes (2009)

Written & Directed by Agnes Varda

My introduction to Agnes Varda in her 2000 documentary, The Gleaners & I, was a very promising one. It was her curiosity that intrigued me, but the subject matter was not overly special to me. Now I have seen two of Agnes Varda’s documentary films and I am more than ready to delve into the actual catalogue of this famed French New Wave director. I admit that my introduction to Varda seems somewhat odd, but I like the way I have slowly warmed up to her work, getting me ready for her more substantial fiction work she is probably best known for. Seeing two documentaries released in the past decade does not do Varda justice, as fascinating as they may be. I know this, but I also am glad I saw them.

What is so spectacular about this particular film is the places she goes with her camera, and I don’t mean locations. She explores her memories in a way I would never have though of before. Sure she does interesting reenactments of her memories, but she also includes many archival scenes that fulfill her vision perfectly. I have to say, the editing in this film is what I noticed most, and I think that is the first, and probably last, time I will ever say that. I mean she blends the story with all of her images so well that it feels like a real story. I am sitting next to her, listening to her speak, not sitting on my coach watching her speak. It is truly remarkable, much like some of her visual ideas for the film, like the mirrors in the beginning, just astoundingly imaginative and beautiful. But like I said, I still feel like I don’t know who Varda is. I need to go back to her height and see films like Cleo From 5 to 7. Then perhaps I will truly know why I love Agnes Varda.

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