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Film Screening: Le Bonheur

Le Bonheur ("Happiness") is a 1965 French drama film directed by Agnès Varda. The film is associated with the French New Wave and won two awards at the 15th Berlin International Film Festival, including the Jury Grand Prix. The film's notable colours resulted from the creation of a new colour negative because the original had faded during production.

François, a young carpenter working for his uncle, lives a comfortable and happy life in his marriage to his wife named Thérèse with which he has two seemingly perfect children, Pierrot and Gisou. Although finding abundant “le bonheur” in his marriage and indisputably loving his wife and children, François covetously pursues an extended happiness through an affair with a woman called Émilie whom he meets on a business trip. 

Émilie knows of and skeptically inquires François about his marriage to which he soothes her with charming words and continues in his infidelity. Finding love with Émilie in the afternoon and with Thérèse at night, François’ wife questions him on a family daytrip about the new level of happiness that he has experienced lately and which she has noticed. Finding himself unable to lie to his wife, François tells Thérèse the truth about his affair, but assures her that there is “more than enough happiness to go around, nothing has changed between them.” Thérèse is found dead shortly after hearing the news of her husband’s infidelity, news that essentially shatter her very character that is determined by her ability to feed her husband’s happiness. Left a widower, François responds with a short period of mourning followed by a continued pursuit of Émilie who gladly becomes his wife and the mother of his children. In completing his family with Émilie as a replacement for his late wife Thérèse, François’ life embodies a spirit of “le bonheur” once again despite his break with morality.

This film screening is part of our Spring/Summer 2017 film programming schedule. Stay tuned for our monthly screenings which aim to highlight women's achievements in global cinema. All screenings are by donation; popcorn and beverages will be provided.
Programmed by Yaz Ebrahi.