The Beaches of Agnes

Rated 5.0

In the irresistibly charming French documentary The Beaches of Agnes, the Left Bank filmmaking icon Agnès Varda (Cleo From 5 to 7) looks back at her life and career, including her 28-year marriage to director Jacques Demy. The elfin 80-year-old Varda was probably the most likable presence on movie screens last year—even her serial name-dropping, from Jean-Luc Godard to Harrison Ford, is adorable. Varda adroitly summarizes her fishing-town upbringing and prolific artistic output (which includes documentaries, avant-garde films and gallery installations), but she structures the film like a stream of memories rather than a dull recitation of events. The elegant and playful The Beaches of Agnes is Varda’s Sans Soleil, and appropriately enough, that film’s director, Chris Marker, “appears” in the film, albeit as a cartoon cat with a digitally modulated voice.