Beaches, Oceans, and Other Mirrors

Beaches… those magical places without a past or future… places where the mainland ends and where the horizon seems to go on forever. Explore our newly curated selection of films that are guaranteed to take you to infinity and beyond. The sea and beaches serve as an endless source of inspiration for filmmakers and ultimately create a utopia where our dreams and ideas can run wild. Face the sea head-on and look into “the mirror.”

"If we opened people up, we'd find landscapes. If we opened me up, we'd find beaches,” explains French filmmaker Agnès Varda of her relationship with Earth’s sandy shores in her autobiographical essay, The Beaches of Agnès. The start of the film takes place on the beach, where the director places mirrors of various shapes and sizes. Do we see the ocean, Agnès, her life, and her collaborators in the reflection of a mirror or in the direct view of a camera?

The sea as a source of livelihood and an age-old ring where man measures his strength against the forces of Neptune, we see from impressionist paintings in the legendary film Leviathan (2012). A silent witness to the passage of time takes form in the waters and sands that surround Corvo, the smallest of the Azorean Islands, whose unrecorded history is explored in Gonçalo Tocha’s piece, It's the Earth, not the Moon (2011) — a cinematic odyssey divided into 14 chapters. And finally, lest we forget the beach that’s associated with our dreams of the perfect vacation. The short films All Inclusive (2018) by Corina Schwingruber Ilić and The Beach (2016) by Pedro Neves testify to the fact that our notions of the beach — from carefreedom and fun to young, suntanned bodies — are more often than not just a figment of our own imagination.

Selected films is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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