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SOLD OUT – Le Bonheur

Agnès Varda

Though married to the good-natured, beautiful Thérèse (Claire Drouot), young husband and father François (Jean-Claude Drouot) finds himself falling unquestioningly into an affair with an attractive postal worker. One of Agnès Varda’s most provocative films, Le bonheur examines, with a deceptively cheery palette and the spirited strains of Mozart, the ideas of fidelity and happiness in a modern, self-centered world.

“The first thing about “Le Bonheur” is its riot of color… a painterly mix that is more reminiscent of the cosmic intimacy of Bonnard’s paintings than of the Impressionist works that Varda references throughout the film. And for Varda, the charms of Impressionism are raw material that she subjects to analysis and criticism—it’s a film in which emotional life and sensual delight are seen through the prism of sociology, psychology, and philosophical reflection.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“More than Le bonheur’s feminist politics and the fact that they were slightly ahead of their time, it is on the level of form that the film is so unsettling and calls up so many contradictory interpretations. One need only look at the opening and closing scenes to understand the complexity of Varda’s strategy.” – Amy Taubin, Criterion

“The film is essentially a deftly sustained cognitive dissonance experiment. The synthetic “warmth” of the images, counter-posed against the “coldness” of the psychological approach. Each draws a special charge from the other. There has never been a verfremdungseffekt quite like this one. Brecht must have triple-axelled in his grave.” – Senses of Cinema

“The power of Varda’s film is that it remains startling even in our savvy era, leaving us as uncertain and suspicious of its intentions as its first audiences must have been… Le Bonheur may be numbered among the many precursors to radical works such as Blue Velvet and Fat Girl, but Varda’s film is moving in ways that a Lynch or Breillat could never be.” – The House Next Door


  • 1/24 | 7:30PM
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