Jean-Claude Drouot, Sandrine Drouot, Olivier Drouot, Marie-France Boyer,
In this strikingly colorful, lyrical film, Varda contemplates happiness. François, a carpenter, is happy with his wife; he is happier still when he takes a mistress. For him it is not a question of loving one or the other; he loves both, and wants them to share a life together. This triangular relationship is examined within a circular structure. The film begins and ends with blissful family picnics—only the women have changed. These pastoral scenes, filmed in soft focus and muted colors, are evocative of Renoir’s paintings. The allusion to Impressionism seems deliberate, for the film quietly criticizes François’s personal absorption. In his pursuit of happiness, he doesn’t look beyond his own needs and desires, and never imagines that there may be a cost for living for the moment. Without moralizing or providing psychological explanation, Varda’s depiction raises the essentially philosophical question, Is this happiness?