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Le Bonheur
(Happiness)

Screening on Film
Directed by Agnès Varda.
With Jean-Claude Drouot, Claire Drouot, Marie-France Boyer.
France, 1964, 35mm, color, 82 min.
French with English subtitles.

In this acclaimed but controversial film, the Drouots and their real-life children portray an idyllically happy family residing in the suburbs of Paris. The artisan husband decides to increase their happiness by incorporating his young mistress (Boyer) into the family unit. An ensuing tragedy is followed by a strange resumption of happiness. Opulently photographed in Impressionist tones by the cinematographer of Demy’s Umbrellas of Cherbourg and set to strains of Mozart, the film was a major hit of the 1960s French New Wave and took the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. And yet its portrait of boundless joy continues to disturb. In Varda’s words, it is “a beautiful fruit that tastes of cruelty.”

PRECEDED BY

  • Plaisir D'Amour en Iran (Delight of Love in Iran)

    Directed by Agnès Varda.
    With Valérie Mairesse, Ali Raffi, voice of Thérèse Liotard.
    France, 1976, 35mm, color, 6 min.
    French with English subtitles.

This brief fictional sketch draws on the actors and characters from Varda’s award-winning 1976 feature L’une chante, l’autre pas (One Sings, the Other Doesn’t), which stirred controversy in feminist and non-feminist circles alike.

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