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Mother and Lover Equals Other: Varda's Mortal Critique of the Feminine as Annex to the Masculine Subject

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-80
Number of pages15
JournalL' Esprit Createur: the international quarterly of French and Francophone studies
Issue number2
Accepted/In press3 May 2018
PublishedJul 2018


King's Authors


This article explores the ways in which Agnès Varda's often misunderstood film Le bonheur (1965) undermines the roles of mistress and mother/wife as they are constructed by patriarchy, using concepts of mortality. The film has been misread as an iteration of these archetypes from a phallocentric perspective because of its vivid palette and seemingly simple substitution of one woman for another by the male protagonist. It concludes that Varda's grim assessment of these objectifying roles creates a chiaroscuro effect with the film's Pop Art aesthetics, a contrast that highlights the objectification of women in order to challenge it.

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