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Movie Review: The Beaches of Agnes

Alternate Title: A Life Well Lived

Story: Agnes Varda has lived a full, remarkable life. At age 8o she tackled the task of her autobiography through film. And we are all better off for her efforts.

Even if you have never heard of her, once you see her artful work via this film you will feel as if you have known her your whole life. Born in 1928 in Belgium we watch her extraordinary life through snippets of film, still photos, re-imagined scenarios and interviews. They are playful, funny, enchanting, poetic and above all, a visual delight.

An award wining filmmaker for Vagabond/Without Roof or Rule (the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival) and last year's Cesar award winner for best documentary - The Beaches of Agnes.

She was married to filmmaker Jacques Demy (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) until his death from AIDS in 1990. She is a director, screenwriter, editor, actor, producer, political activist, installation artist and photographer. What more could you ask for?

Take two hours out of your life to see someone who has had a glorious ride.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUUq1HPE6IE

Acting: This is a documentary so it does not apply.

Trivia: The French New Wave Cinema was a term coined in the 1950's and 60's. These filmmakers were influenced by Italian Neorealism. They rejected classical cinematic form and their films had a youthful spirit of iconoclasm. They included the social and political upheavals of the era, making their radical experiments with editing, visual style, and narrative part of a general break with the conservative paradigm. Major figures included Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette, Alain Resnais, Agnès Varda, Jacques Demy. Chabrol's Le Beau Serge (1958) is traditionally but arguably credited as the first New Wave feature. Truffaut, with The 400 Blows (1959) and Godard, with Breathless (1960).

Predilection: None

Critters: Lots of cats and dogs.

Sex Spectrum: Simulated sex on a beach and a very funny scene with frontal male and female nudity.

Blatant Product Placement: None

Opening Titles: A terrific opening sequence of Varda on the beach setting up mirrors as an art installation.

Visual Art: The entire film is a a work of art.

Theater Audience: Crowded with Francophiles and cinephiles.

Weather: Lovely

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: It could have been edited a bit in the middle

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: If you can find it on the big screen, go for it. Otherwise, rental would be fine. Read my review of Vargas' wonderful film, The Gleaners and I here. http://www.judithwolfe.com/lobosmoviereviews/reviews/gleaners.html

Length: 110 Minutes