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French film director\'s autobiographical documentary \"The Beaches of Agnes\" succeeds



The Beaches of Agnes"
Friday-Saturday, Jan 15-16
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive

A whimsical, self-guided journey back through the peaks and valleys of her life, "The Beaches of Agnès" is an autobiographical documentary that serves as a playful highlight reel for French film director Agnès Varda ("Vagabond").

Quirky without being pretentious or preening, "Beaches" combines archival footage and video shot with a small camcorder by an 80-something-year-old Varda, who takes audiences back to her childhood, photography roots and early cinematic association with French New Wave " an adoration that formed alongside her love for famed French filmmaker Jacques Demy ("The Umbrellas of Cherbourg"), whom she married.

As Varda walks backward " literally " through "Beaches," she recounts her life with footage of friends and colleagues like Harrison Ford, American filmmaker Zalman King and Chris Marker, an eccentric French artist, writer and filmmaker who appears in the form of an animated cat.

The most revelatory grains of "Beaches" are the moments when she remembers her husband, and although she offers little in terms of behind-the-scenes explanation " he died of AIDS complications in 1990 " she's unguarded about how deeply their relationship affected and still shapes her thoughts, career and life.

Poignant even if you know nothing about French cinema, "The Beaches of Agnes" is touching, sad and unexpected.

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