The Beaches of Agnès (Les Plages d’Agnès)

In this autobiographical documentary, stories from filmmaker Agnès Varda’s “childhood in Brussels and adolescence in occupied Paris, of Los Angeles in the ‘60s, and of life in her 14e arrondissement Paris neighborhood are melded with clips from both documentary and fiction work. Husband/filmmaker Jacques Demy, who died in 1990, is an abiding presence. Varda is an avid collector: of people and places, sensual experiences and intellectual preoccupations, personal commitments and political principles. She is a mother and wife, a feminist, nature-lover and urban-dwelling artist. Above all, she is a woman in love with the cinema whose new movie perfectly expresses her sentiment, ‘While I live, I remember.'” [Synopsis courtesy of Film Forum]

The Gleaners & I

Agnes Varda, Grande Dame of the French New Wave, has made 2001’s most acclaimed non-fiction film — a self-described “wandering-road documentary.” Beginning with the famous Jean-Francois Millet painting of women gathering wheat left over from a harvest, she focused her ever-seeking eye on gleaners: those who scour already-reaped fields for the odd potato or turnip. Her investigation leads us from forgotten corners of the French countryside to off-hours at the green markets of Paris, following those who insist on finding a use for that which society has cast off, whether out of necessity or activism. Varda’s own ruminations on her life as a filmmaker (a glener of sorts) give her a connection to her subjects that creates a touching human portrait that the L.A. Weekly deemed “a protest film that’s part social critique, part travelogue, but always an unsentimental celebration of human resilience.”

The Beaches of Agnès

Filmmaking icon Agnès Varda, the award-winning director regarded by many as the grandmother of the French new wave, turns the camera on herself with this unique autobiographical documentary. Composed of film excerpts and elaborate dramatic re-creations, Varda’s self-portrait recounts the highs and lows of her professional career, the many friendships that affected her life and her longtime marriage to cinematic giant Jacques Demy.