Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beaches of Agnes (2008)****1/2

In this delightful memoir, the great Agnes Varda recounts the many adventures that have marked her extraordinary time on Earth. Always a better documentarian than a dramatic filmmaker, Varda utilizes a variety of clever visual tools to intimately acquaint us with her 80-year love affair with life. Name any important creative innovation in art, music or culture since WWII, and there you’ll find Agnes, smack dab in the middle of it. Amusing, heartbreaking, never short of amazing, The Beaches of Agnes is a must see for anyone interested in the mysterious forces that compel the serially creative.

Still Walking (2008)****

Fans of the classic films of Yasujiro Ozu will enjoy this contemplative drama of family life in Japan. Director Hirokazu Koreeda uses leisurely strolls over hilly terrain as a metaphor for the passage of time and generational change. Quiet, hypnotic and strangely poignant, Still Walking explores a family’s deepest secrets and resentments through reverent scenes that somehow manage to simultaneously evade and confront.

Reno 911 Season 4 (2006)*****

Since most of you think I’m a squat-to-pee film snob, you’ll be shocked to know I LOVE this raunchy, insane, just plain goofy comedy about Reno’s far-from-Finest. Pick any season – they’re all hysterical - but Season 4 ranks as my favorite. Along with the usual gang of talented nitwits (Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash, Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, Carlos Alazraqui, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kerri Kenney and Mary Birdsong) there’s great guest stars including Paul Rudd, Paul Rubens and the always hilarious Kim Whitley. Her turn as a prostitute more interested in running errands than collaring an abusive pimp is one of the funniest sketches in the show’s history…and that includes a lot of funny sketches. Hey, there’s more to life than that new penetrating Bulgarian art film. Live a little!


Bob of Holland said...

Hi Bunchie, Finally again you reviewed a film I actually saw: The Beaches of Agnes. I love that naughty old lady and everything she makes. Her work has elegance, humour, melancholy and let's call it playfulness. Varda completely deserves the four and half stars you gave her film.

Ibetolis said...

Two films I just adore - Beaches of Agnes and Still Walking.

I take your point about Varda's documentaries outweighing her dramatic content, there's something quite enthralling about the way one seamlessly unrelated point feeds into another, how she becomes a part of the story and the way in which art is woven into her very soul. I truly adore Agnes Varda.

As for Still Walking, this is still having an effect on me many months after first watching it, there have been several times since. Great quick picks!

Bunched Undies said...

Bob: I grown quite enamored with Agnes as well. Some of her early work didn't quite shine for me, but with The Gleaners I finally "got" her. Thanks.

Ibe: Thanks. Yes indeed, art is woven into her very soul. Well put.
Your blog is excellent. I plan to poke around some more when I have time. Adding you to my blogroll.

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