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Heat of the Moment: Le Bonheur (15)

man and woman in grass

The happiness of a family is threatened when the father is unfaithful in Agnès Varda’s brilliant, visually stunning study of sexual politics.

Criticised by contemporary critics for being anti-feminist, Le Bonheur is a razor-sharp portrait of a one-sided marriage, as the husband begins an affair with another woman, with the full knowledge and apparent support of his wife. But his domestic bliss may not be as universal as he seems to believe.

Le Bonheur is Varda’s first colour film, and the screen glows with vibrant, candy-coloured shades, suggesting the artificiality of this supposed domestic idyll, set in a perennial summer haze. Described by the director as an apple with a worm inside, it’s a fearsome dissection of patriarchy and privilege.

France 1965 Dir Agnès Varda 80 min

Screens with: Melting (US 1965 Dir Thom Andersen 6 min) a short film, from the director of Los Angeles Plays Itself, showing the disintegration of a strawberry sundae.


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Barbican Cinema 3