Gleaning Truths: Agnès Varda

Le Bonheur 15 (S)

Le Bonheur

A classic romantic triangle is the set up for Varda’s melodrama exploring the themes of fidelity and the dark side of happiness in a modern, self-centred world. A handsome young, working-class couple, François and Thérèse (played by the real-life couple Jean-Claude and Claire Drouot), and their two young children (the actors’ own) live a seemingly happy life. He’s a carpenter, she’s a stay at home dressmaker who looks after the children, they are in love and share a happy, seemingly fulfilling home and social life.

In spite of all this François meets and falls for Emilie, a young post office worker (Marie-France Boyer), embarking on an affair which brings inevitable drastic consequences. Varda combines the compelling narrative with brilliant editing, peppering the film with visual allusions to the films of her male New Wave contemporaries and filling scenes with riots of nature and sensual color which makes for a powerful sensory experience.