This week, the Battelle Film Clubpresents Le Bonheur, a French film with the title that translates to “Happiness.”
The title of the subtitled flick is appropriate. Francois is happily married to the beautiful Therese. They have two equally beautiful kids. The very much in love Francois and Therese and the children spend many happy hours being — well — happy.
Francois meets Emilie. Like everyone else, she’s happy. He’s instantly smitten. Moments later, Francois is completely in love. So is she. They have an affair. Nothing super sordid. Just a happy get together once or twice a week. In fact, the more he sees Emilie, the deeper he falls in love with her, the deeper he falls in love with his wife.
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The guy spends most of the movie smiling. He smiles so much Therese notices. No one should be quite that happy. No movie should be quite this happy. But it is. Quite.
One explanation for all the happiness is that it's from 1965. We were all happier then. It is one of a very few full-length motion pictures done by writer/director Agnes Varda, a documentarian and short subject maker.
Varda’s casts real life husband and wife Jean-Claude and Claire Drouot and their children as the family, and Marie-France Boyer as Emilie. The casting of the family is inspired. You’ve never seen kids this natural in a movie.
Her film is also — appropriately — beautifully done. It’s so sunny and bright that you may want to bring sunglasses. Other than the affair, Francois’ clumsy admission of the affair and a full-circle ending, nothing much happens.
And that, too — ironically — will make you happy.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars
Not rated but probably R for nudity and mature themes. It plays one time — 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 16 — at the Battelle Auditorium.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.