Agnès Varda Max Kozloff - Essay

Max Kozloff

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

After perhaps some initial confusion, a viewer might most profitably view Agnes Varda's Le Bonheur as a pastoral, in the old, even Renaissance sense of the word. Imbued with a simple gravity, nymph and shepherd enact a gracious courtship (here a self-refreshing marriage), which is yet miraculously attuned with nature. It is a genre convention as little current today as the implied vanity and death theme in Varda's earlier Cléo de 5 à 7. But it has the advantage of suspending the apparent implausibility of the wife's suicide in a mythic mold that would be totally unexplained in the usual narrative, or psychological context. Set in a modern Paris suburb, replete with high-rise housing projects, the...

(The entire section is 1579 words.)