This article considers Vardian acts of listening and (self-)portraiture. With works that celebrate the material world in its myriad forms and scales, from a beloved button to a bottomless sea, Agnès Varda developed a method of empathetic engagement. Her encounters grasped relations extending from a person, family, or group, to a greater world-memory and duration comprising “us” all. As it heeds these foldings of the world, this article considers subjectification processes that take into a self all elements of nature. With sustained awareness of the “hundreds of thousands of people” she doesn't know, through her acts of listening and portraiture, in her later years Varda simultaneously attained a recognizable persona and an imperceptibility that gestured to an inward-outward movement her works so often foretell: that of a self's full dissolution into memory and world. In line with Varda's lifelong commitment to new forms of making visible the invisible, and her embrace of a sea as a groundless source of intersubjective relations, limits transform via her works into reflective, dissolving surfaces. A doubling of the personal and cosmic—that movement that so singularizes Varda—emanates through this weave of her art and life. As a chiasmatic double herself whose encounters brought extremes into contact, Varda demonstrated a concern for the future of the world that persisted alongside an awareness of her own mortality. Beyond the duration of her own life, Varda's works expose us to ourselves while always foregrounding the woman, and women, behind, before, and beyond the lens.

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