Adultery -- France -- Drama, Man-woman relationships -- France -- Drama

Le bonheur



Jean-Claude Drouot, Sandrine Drouot, Olivier Drouot, Marie-France Boyer,

In this strikingly colorful, lyrical film, Agnès 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 Pierre-Auguste 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 he 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?

Kathy Geritz
  • Agnès Varda
  • Jean Rabier
  • Claude Beausoleil
  • French
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • DCP
  • 85 mins
  • Janus Films

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Agnès Varda: cinécriture (flyer), Pacific Film Archive, 2009

Varda from '54 to '92 (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, Susan Oxtoby, 1999

Agnès Varda's special light (article), Los Angeles Times, Kevin Thomas, 1997

Agnes Varda filmographie (booklet), France. Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, Bernard Bastide, 1994

Dossier : Agnès Varda, une réalisatrice française (article), Visuelles des Femmes et Des Images, 1980

Two classics of the French New Wave (review), Daily Californian (Berkeley, Calif.), Cynthia Garratt, 1974

Happiness to heartbreak : Varda to May (review), Audience, Cleve Canham, 1973

Le bonheur (distributor materials), Janus Films, 1973

French cinema since 1946 -- excerpt (book excerpt), Zwemmer, Roy Armes, 1970

French cinema since 1946, v.2 -- excerpt (book excerpt), Zwemmer, Roy Armes, 1970

Displaying 10 of 16 publicly available documents.

View all Le bonheur documentation on CineFiles.