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also known as Les plages d'Agnès

The Beaches of Agnès2008

  • 4.4
Agnès Varda takes a cinematic stroll through her career—and the history of French film—in this jovial first-person documentary that "walks backwards" across the beaches, landscapes, and movie sets of her life and times. For some, turning eighty may mean settling down, but for the "Grandmother of the French New Wave" it's cause for reflection, irreverence, and a continued reinvention of the cinematic form. Recollections of a wartime childhood, an early career as a photographer, and her emergence as a filmmaker coincide with remembrances of friends and colleagues, a who's-who that includes Jean-Luc Godard, Gérard Depardieu, Alexander Calder, members of the Black Panthers and Jim Morrison, with special attention paid to fellow Left Bank filmmakers like good friend Chris Marker (who "appears" in his favorite feline guise) and her great love, Jacques Demy. As charming and idiosyncratic as Varda herself, BEACHES is supposedly her last film (though she has later made a documentary series for television); if so, it is a goodbye as youthful and vigorous as her hello, LA POINTE COURTE. - Jason Sanders

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Winner of "Best Documentary" ("meilleur film documentaire") at the 2009 César Awards.


3 members like this review

Cleo From 5 to 7 being one of my favorite films, I found this a wonderful view into the director, Agnes Varda. The film evolves, the telling of her story, her artistic vision, her childhood, it is intriguing to watch - particularly if you are aware of the French New Wave Cinema and artists of that time. It puts another piece of the puzzle together. Interesting also for elements of Jacques Demy. If you are someone who likes a movie to get to its point, wrap things up quickly and get on to the next thing - I would not recommend this movie for you. On the other hand, if you are someone who likes to linger and explore off the beaten path places and soak up what little treasures you find along the way - you will enjoy this film very much.

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Member Reviews (7)

82091.small
top reviewer

Cleo From 5 to 7 being one of my favorite films, I found this a wonderful view into the director, Agnes Varda. The film evolves, the telling of her story, her artistic vision, her childhood, it is intriguing to watch - particularly if you are aware of the French New Wave Cinema and artists of that time. It puts another piece of the puzzle together. Interesting also for elements of Jacques Demy. If you are someone who likes a movie to get to its point, wrap things up quickly and get on to the next thing - I would not recommend this movie for you. On the other hand, if you are someone who likes to linger and explore off the beaten path places and soak up what little treasures you find along the way - you will enjoy this film very much.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

Truly enjoyable, and eccentric, reminiscence of times past and loves lost. Varda is enjoying herself in this tribute to her life in the movies and to her relationship to Demy. She is playful, never self-pitying, clever in her juxtaposition of images of the current with those of the past. What is more, she is never self-aggrandizing, as so many others are. And yet. And yet, she was one of the few women (the only one?) who dared take on the totally male-dominated French film industry in the Sixties and Seventies. She makes a light joke about la Nouvelle Vague, using her favorite decor, the sea coast, and talks about her friendship with the giants of that seminal period, from Resnais to Chabrol and Godard, but without a hint of irony about the misogyny of those auteurs.

Looking forward to the restoration of the Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

3 members like this review
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Agnes Varda is unbelievably creative and totally adorable. I love her. This is her story and she tells it in her own irrepressible style.

I can't help myself - I'm a Varda fan.

Original as always.

amazing filmmaker and person

don`t bother watching it