“If we opened people up, we’d find landscapes. If we opened me up, we’d find beaches.” Originally intended to be Agnès Varda’s farewell to filmmaking, this enchanting self-portrait, made in her eightieth year, is a freewheeling journey through her life, career, and artistic philosophy. Revisiting the places that shaped her—from the North Sea beaches of Belgium where she spent her childhood to the Mediterranean village where she shot her first film to the boardwalks of Los Angeles where she lived with her husband Jacques Demy—Varda reflects on a lifetime of creation and inspiration, successes and setbacks, heartbreak and joy. Replete with images of wonder and whimsy—the ocean reflected in a kaleidoscope of mirrors, the streets of Paris transformed into an urban sand beach, the filmmaker herself ensconced in the belly of a whale—The Beaches of Agnès is the record of a life lived fully and passionately in the name of cinema.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema.
Mathieu Kassovitz took the film world by storm with La haine, a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-income banlieue districts on Paris’s outskirts.
DCP, 35 mm, Blu-ray, DVD
An intoxicating, time-bending experience bathed in the golden glow of oil lamps and wreathed in an opium haze, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s gorgeous period reverie traces the romantic intrigue, jealousies, and tensions swirling around a late 19th century Shanghai brothel, where the courtesans live confined to a gilded cage, ensconced in opulent splendor yet forced to work to buy back their freedom.