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The Beaches of Agnès (2008)
"Les plages d'Agnès" (original title)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,447 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 11 user | 80 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

Agnès Varda explores her memories, mostly chronologically, with photographs, film clips, interviews, reenactments, and droll, playful contemporary scenes of her narrating her story.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Herself
André Lubrano ...
Himself
Blaise Fournier ...
Himself
Vincent Fournier ...
Himself
Andrée Vilar ...
Herself
Stéphane Vilar ...
Himself
Christophe Vilar ...
Himself
Rosalie Varda ...
Herself
...
Himself
Christophe Vallaux ...
Himself
Mireille Henrio ...
Herself
Didier Rouget ...
Himself
Anne-Laure Manceau ...
Agnès Varda jeune
Gerald Ayres ...
Himself (as Gerry Ayres)
Jim McBride ...
Himself
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Storyline

At nearly 80, Agnès Varda explores her memory - growing up in Belgium, living in Sète, Paris, and Noirmoutier, discovering photography, making a film, being part of the New Wave, raising children with Jacques Demy, losing him, and growing old. She explores her memory using photographs, film clips, home movies, contemporary interviews, and set pieces she designs to capture a feeling, a time, or a frame. Shining through each scene are her impish charm, inventiveness, and natural empathy. How do people grow old, how does loss stay with them, can they remain creative, and what do they remember? Memory, she says, is like a swarm of confused flies. She envisions hers for us. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Release Date:

17 December 2008 (France)  »

Also Known As:

As Praias de Agnès  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,948 (USA) (7 August 2009)

Gross:

$239,711 (USA) (20 August 2010)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 118156. See more »

Connections

Edited into Film socialisme (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Supplique pour être enterré à la plage de Sète
Composed, Written and Sung by Georges Brassens
Produced by Georges Meyerstein-Maigret
disques Phillips
(1966)
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User Reviews

 
Lively and vibrant
15 December 2010 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

In a revealing and playful mood, filmmaker Agnes Varda narrates her own filmed autobiography in The Beaches of Agnes. The film begins with Varda, now 82, setting up mirrors on the beach with the sounds of one of her mother's favorite works, Schubert's Unfinished Symphony in the background Though she asserts that "Today, I'm playing a little old lady, talkative and plump," she looks anything like a little old lady. The film re-creates her life with childhood memories that take her back to homes she knew as a child in Brussels and the city of Sete where she made her first film at the age of 26.

The film is not a dry documentary, filled with reminiscences of people we never heard of. It is a work of art in itself, a celebration not only of her life, but of all life. Along the way, Varda takes us to Los Angeles (one of her favorite cities in which she lived) where she talks about and shows photos of her former husband Jacques Demy, who she announces died of AIDS in 1990, Jane Birkin, Chris Marker (dressed as a cartoon cat) and even poet, singer Jim Morrison. Varda began as a photographer and we see an example of her photos from a long time ago. While the film documents Varda's films beginning with her first Le Pointe Curé in 1956 to the present day and the first appearances on film of Gerald Depardieu, Phillipe Noiret, and Harrison Ford, she also discusses in detail and shows excerpts from her most popular films including Cléo from 5 to 7, Le Bonheur, Vagabond, The Gleaners and I, and her documentary tributes to her husband.

Rather than an egoists attempt to enhance a reputation with big events in which she participated, the film looks at small things like the uniform she had to wear in Vichy France and a scene at an outdoor flea market where the director finds cardboard cutouts of herself and other filmmakers with their works listed on the back. But there is much more. With actors dramatizing important memories from her life, The Beaches of Agnes is filled with the people, including her two grown children, places and events, including her trips to Cuba and China that contributed to her personal growth and made her the lively and vibrant person she is today. She closes the documentary by saying, "I am alive, and I remember." While we are still alive, we will remember her.


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