Agnès Varda

Courtesy Cine-Tamaris Documenteur (1981)

The indomitable, indispensable Agnès Varda, now 88, has always worked outside the limits of either/or: Her films, four of which will screen at MoMI in partnership with Reverse Shot, the museum's online publication, expand the boundaries of fiction and nonfiction and invite multiple interpretations. The very title of 1965's Le Bonheur — "Happiness" — Varda's third feature, and her first in color, abounds with ironies. Centering on a young, beautiful, joyful family — played by actor Jean-Claude Drouot, his real-life spouse, and their two cherubic tykes — Le Bonheur quietly but devastatingly traces the effects of a radical rupture in the seemingly perfect ménage. Three decades later, Varda drew upon her own emotional upheaval in Documenteur (1981), a wrenching fictionalized account of her temporary separation from her husband, the filmmaker Jacques Demy. As Varda's surrogate, Sabine Mamou stars as newly single Emilie, who struggles to find lodging for herself and her eight-year-old child, Martin, in Los Angeles; heightening the rawness of this profoundly personal film is the fact that this adorable moppet is played by Mathieu Demy, Varda and Demy's own son.

"Agnès Varda" runs through October 16 at MoMI. Click here for the screening schedule.
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