BAMPFA Collection Print
Jean-Claude Drouot, Sandrine Drouot, Olivier Drouot, Marie-France Boyer,
Join us after the September 16 screening for a Film to Table dinner at Babette, the cafe at BAMPFA. Purchase dinner tickets in advance at babettecafe.com.
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?