Agnès Varda - The Beaches of Agnès
CultureMovies / TV / Series

Relevancy in European Cinema — ‘The Beaches of Agnès´Review

Her philosophy has her remain elegantly original, and we as an audience can feel her genuine adoration for cinema.

Revolutionary director Agnès Varda has a history of being a powerful force in the world of cinema, leaving a mark not only on the French New-Wave movement but internationally. You have heard the name, but if you do not know the woman, then Varda’s directed documentary on her career is somewhere to start. The emotional flow of the theatrical film reels, photographs, and poetic archive recall the past 80 years of a legendary yet humble artist.

Agnès Varda, a cinema pioneer

Agnès Varda herself is a veteran filmmaker who has not only directed but written almost every film she’s ever made, competing in an era when men dominate the cinematic world.

She is the creator who started with short films from 1954 to 1961, with the renowned drama “Cléo 5–7” coming next, and Godard himself praising and recommending Varda when asked who he is similar to. In the documentary, Varda herself still beams, her small stature and two-toned bowl haircut appearing incredibly chic and charming rather than uncomfortably original. Yet we aren’t here to discuss how she looked, we are to comment on her work.

Agnès Varda - European Cinema

She uses the beach as a surrealist, symbolical motif of peace, with mirrors set up along the land, reflecting each other. Her philosophical and camera-operative approach makes her stand out and showcases her adoration of the craft of cinema.

We are given a calmly dramatic and beautifully nostalgic aura with Varda directing her own biographical documentary. Yet it is not meant to pretentiously praise Varda but tell a simple story of her life, French mentality, and career. And those all interweave. She states that ‘if we opened people up, we’d find landscapes…if we opened me up, we’d find beaches.’

Varda’s poignancy reflects her somewhat stoic and relaxed yet uptight persona — a woman with such a history who recognises her relevancy yet remains all the more beautifully courteous. She has a mysterious aura about her, yet doesn’t cease to disclose information about her filmmaking processes, claiming that ‘I don’t want to show things, but to give people the desire to see.’

Agnès Varda´s philosophy

Her philosophy has remained elegantly original, and we as an audience can feel her genuine adoration for cinema, rather than the claims to fame that surely come from it. This is what is beautiful in an artist — their intentions and true passion for their craft, not the fortune that comes with it.

To get a sense of a director’s style, we may need to know the director. And Varda delivers just this. With her visits to the Cannes Film Festival, TIFF, and countless others, she does not burst with self-absorption, as you might think such a complimented icon like herself might. Remaining elegant, Varda simply describes herself as “a little old lady, pleasantly plump”.