The Representation And Function Of Public And Private Spaces

2114 words - 9 pages

In this essay we will analyse what techniques Agnès Varda used in both Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse and Les Plages d’Agnès to underline the key theme of public and private spaces. This has been done through four key areas: setting, sound, camera style and the use of interviews to focus on individuals. Furthermore, to fully engage with this question we first must have an understanding of what public and private space is. Public space is a social space that is generally open and accessible to all². Private or personal space is an area surrounding a person that they regard as theirs, and it has a profound impact on their personal experiences and identity².
In both of Agnès Varda’s films she uses setting to blur public and private spaces, but especially in les Plages d’Agnès. She uses this technique to challenge the audience’s perceived perception that public and private spaces are distinct from each other. For example, in Les Plages d’Agnès she uses the setting of beaches, which one would normally associate with a public space, and makes it a personal space by using mirrors and talking about her own personal experiences in her life to convince the audience that this beach is a private space for her. For example, in one particular scene in Les Plages d’Agnès, Varda writes out her birth name of Arlette and then explains why she changed her name to Agnès. Whilst she is talking about this the sea washes away her name Arlette just like she did. This gives us the feeling that Varda is manipulating the setting of the beach a public space in order to express her personal experiences and make it a personal space for her. This blurs the audience’s interpretation of what is a public of private space. As Varda says, “If we opened me up we’d find beaches”³. This shows us that Varda is deliberately using the setting of beaches to convey her own personal identity to the audience. Another scene where Agnès Varda blurs the perception of public and private spaces in Les Plages d’Agnès is the umbilical cord scene. In this scene Varda shows the audience that normally she filmed some of her films only at a maximum of 90 metres away from her house. She shows us this distance by using a plastic cord which looks like an umbilical cord. This is used by Varda to once again blur public and private spaces as she wants to show the audience that her personal experiences and spaces are also accessible to anyone through her films, which makes them public spaces as well.
This concept is also used in Varda’s other film Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse, as even though throughout the film Varda uses public landscapes such as markets and fields she juxtaposes these landscapes by predominately focussing on individuals in each scene. An example of this is the scene in which Varda follows a man who is looking for pine cones and tomatoes to glean after the harvest, Varda, through setting, shows us that even though the audience would normally associate this setting as a public space it is a...

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