Directed by French avant-gardist Agnés Varda, Le Bonheur (1965), translated as “Happiness”, conveys through the formal device of editing in promoting male fantasy by objectifying women’s subjectivity in a patriarchal ideology. In her stunningly provocative film, Varda’s editing positions both the female leads, Thérèse (Claire Drouot) and Émilie (Marie-France Boyer), according to the male lead Fronçois’ (Jean-Claude Drouot) attitude as being interchangeable in their domestic roles, sexual fragmented objects, and impotent. Throughout the film, both Thérèse and Émilie are perfect examples of female subjectivity in a patriarchy society as they suppress the comprehension of their own feelings and desires, and transform themselves for Fronçois,
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Thérèse’s chores are clearly conveyed through Fronçois’ attitude towards women’s roles as mindless everyday chores, never showing a beginning or ending, rather just quick segments of a woman’s duty to her family. While Varda portrays Fronçois as the archetypal male fantasy of a husband and father, working to provide for his family, meanwhile doing what he pleases, when he pleases, and who he pleases it with. Unlike Thérèse, Varda represents Fronçois’ full body doing his work of importance as a carpenter, neither is he fragmented or is devalued of his work into a montage of mindless segments. His face is shown and is automatically left personalizing his work as irreplaceable, thus reasoning to show the patriarchy in effect.
Varda demonstrates the real separation between the patriarchal roles by not only showing Thérèse and Fronçois‘ daily routine, yet also by contrasting their surroundings through the film’s disposition. With Thérèse, Varda has her usually confined at home, having no life outside of her family, with no separation between her persona as a mother and wife, and giving her a very feminine job at home as a dressmaker. Despite her family and clients, Thérèse is shown in solitude, depicting the fact that her life is for her family’s happiness, which is expected. In contrast with Thérèse’s role as the woman, Varda shows Fronçois’ role as the man as he is freely away from home, either at his masculine job as a carpenter with his