The Representation and Function of Public and Private Spaces Essay

The Representation and Function of Public and Private Spaces Essay

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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...


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...as in public places the music appears to be jollier and brighter, this coincides with the mood of Varda, such as the trapeze scene.
Overall in both these documentaries it seems apparent that Varda uses many cinematic techniques, such as the use of setting and camera and sound trickery. This underlines Varda’s point of view that unlike what most people think, public and private spaces are not automatically distinct from each other, but yet sometimes they can become very difficult for people to distinguish them from each other.



Works Cited

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_space (reworded) 13/05/14 13:54
2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_space (reworded) 13/05/14 14:00
3 http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/sep/24/agnes-varda-beaches-of-agnes 14/05/14 14:35
4 http://www.cadrage.net/films/glaneursetglaneuse/glaneursetlaglaneuse.html 14/05/14 15:27

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