"I am alive, and I remember." These are the closing words of Agnes Varda in her remarkable new film, The Beaches of Agnes (5 RED DOTS), which opened here Friday after a DC premier at the National Gallery in June. It is a mesmerizing two hours, as the four-score Varda takes us through her incredible film-making career and her loving marriage to film genius Jacques Demy. Varda portrays her life with incredible creativity, arranging mirrors on the beach to show one scene, moving ahead to a Cinema Paradiso-type segment of two middle-age sons watching footage of their father for the first time - footage shot by Varda - on a moving cart through town! We see early film roles for Gerard Depardieu, Phillipe Noiret (speaking of CP) and... Harrison Ford; leading actors like Jane Birkin standing in for Varda to air her thoughts; snippets of her masterly films that I wish AFI would do a retropsective of (see if you can rent a copy of Lions Love - it looks like a wild romp and stars "Hair" composers Ragni and Rado, Warhol girl Viva, Jim Morrison - yes, that Jim Morrison, who Varda used to have dinner with - and director Peter Bogdonavich). Yes, she is 80, but there is nothing old or plodding about this film. Quite the contrary, it's one of the most exciting that I've ever seen.
At the DC Shorts Festival, I saw a wonderful group of short films on Friday, completely better than the ones I saw on Thursday. Showcase 6 will be playing again tonight at 9:30 pm at E Street. The "best-of" the festival will play Thursday at 7pm and 9:30 at E Street. If you have pick one night to go, that would be the one.
Let's get a schedule of events in here:
Wednesday, Sept. 16 - Free tickets can be obtained for first couple Library of Congress concerts, including the highly regarded Eroica Quartet Oct. 19. They go fast.
Artists Forum at Hillyer Gallery 6:30 - 7:30pm
Sept. 18 - Third Friday Gallery openings in Georgetown, Sea Catch Square
Sept. 19 and 20 - The big event is WalkingTown DC, an amazing schedule of more than 100 free guided walking tours - and a few bike tours - across Washington.
Saturday, Sept. 19 - Evening on the Rooftop at House of Sweden (featuring Swedish hiphopper Adam Tensta - $10)