Varda by Agnès ★★★★

[disclaimer: I haven't seen The Beaches of Agnès, which seems like an obvious precursor to this film]

In her final film, Varda takes the viewer on a personal tour through her life's work, including not only her films, but also her work with photography and art installations. It's hard to begrudge her a victory lap after such a long, storied career, and a pleasure to find the film moving past its surface pleasures. Instead, it functions as a worthy companion piece to 2017's Faces Places, with both films evoking Varda's love for humanity and chronicling her own process of aging. The film's anecdotes may not be new to many viewers, especially those familiar with Varda and her work. Ultimately, the film is a tribute to an idiosyncratic legend, one that presents a portrait of an artist not through her personal life, but through the humanistic concerns that have stretched throughout her career. Its final shot is one of the most poignant in recent memory, a haunting farewell to one of our greatest filmmakers. (B/B+)

Agnès Varda has become one of the most prominent figures of world cinema in recent years, due in large part to the mainstream success of 2017's Faces Places. Her late-in-life victory lap was well-deserved, as the director of masterpieces like Cléo from 5 to 7 and The Gleaners and I. Varda by Agnès, as her last film, is an extension of that victory lap, with Varda giving an overview of her own career.

It is, in some ways, a greatest-hits collection, with Varda speaking not only of her career as a director, but also her work with photography and art installations.