FILM SERIES: The Female Gaze: French Women Directors Shine a Light on Their World

Date: July 12, 2019 - August 2, 2019
Release Date: May 29, 2019

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Sweetness of Life: Three 18th-Century French Paintings from The Frick Collection, film critic Peter Rainer organizes a quartet of female-centric films by iconic French women directors. The films encompass a wide range of stories and styles, celebrating the strength of French women in the arts and their achievements.  Each film begins with a 10-minute introduction by Rainer at 5:50 p.m.

Le Bonheur (1965), NR
Directed by Agnès Varda
Friday, July 12, 5:50–7:30 p.m.
In suburban Paris, young François (Jean-Claude Drouot) appears to live a happy, contented existence with his wife, Thérèse (Claire Drouot), and their two small children. Despite his apparent satisfaction, François takes a mistress named Emilie (Marie-France Boyer) and, remarkably, doesn’t feel the least bit of remorse for his philandering. While he is able to justify loving both women, François’s infidelity results in tragic consequences for both him and his family.

Chocolat (1988), PG-13
Directed by Claire Denis
Friday, July 19, 5:50–7:50 p.m.
An affluent white woman named France (Mireille Perrier) returns to her childhood home in Cameroon after many years of living in France. While there, she reflects on her youth. When she was growing up in the former French colony in the 1950s, her life was one of privilege, escape and ignorance. She bonded with an African servant named Protée (Isaach De Bankolé), even though she was unaware of the larger racial and social tensions stirring all around her.

Things to Come (2016), PG-13
Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve
Friday, July 26, 5:50–7:45 p.m.
Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) is a philosophy teacher with a seemingly settled existence, juggling a rich life of the mind with the day-to-day demands of career and family. But beginning with the bombshell revelation that her husband of 25 years is leaving her, one by one the pillars of Nathalie’s life start to crumble. For the first time in ages, she finds herself adrift, but with a newfound sense of liberation. With nothing to hold her back, Nathalie sets out to define this new phase of her life and to rediscover herself.

Vagabond (1985), NR
Directed by Agnès Varda
Friday, August 2, 5:50–7:45 p.m.
Mona Bergeron (Sandrine Bonnaire) is dead, her frozen body found in a ditch in the French countryside. From this, the film flashes back to the weeks leading up to her death. Through these flashbacks, Mona gradually declines as she travels from place to place, taking odd jobs and staying with whomever will offer her a place to sleep. Mona is fiercely independent, craving freedom over comfort, but it is this desire to be free that will eventually lead to her demise.


ADMISSION: All screenings are free with Museum admission. Admission is $15.00 for adults; $12.00 for seniors; and free for Museum members, students with I.D., and everyone age 18 and under. Admission on August 2nd is free from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. as part of the Museum’s Free First Friday program. For more information, call (626) 449-6840 or visit

WHERE: Norton Simon Museum| 411 West Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena; located on the corner of Colorado and Orange Grove Boulevards at the intersection of the 210 and 134 freeways |Parking at the Norton Simon Museum is free.


Press Contacts

Leslie Denk
(626) 844-6900
[email protected]

Emma Jacobson-Sive
(323) 842-2064
[email protected]

Press Kit

Request Images

High-resolution images from the exhibition may be obtained by emailing [email protected]

Related Links

Read about The Sweetness of Life: Three 18th-Century French Paintings from The Frick Collection

Images for the Press

Le Bonheur

Le Bonheur, © Janus Films

Chocolat (1988)

Chocolat, Orion Classics/Photofest, © Orion Classics

Things to Come

Things to Come, © Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.


Vagabond, © Janus Films

0 items selected

About the Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, roughly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens.

Location: The Norton Simon Museum is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. at Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways. For general Museum information, please call (626) 449-6840 or visit Hours: The Museum is open Thursday through Monday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Friday and Saturday to 7 p.m.).  It is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission: General admission is $20 for adults and $15 for seniors. Members, students with I.D., and patrons age 18 and under are admitted free of charge. The first Friday of the month from 4 to 7 p.m. is free to all. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. Parking: Parking is free but limited, and no reservations are necessary. Public Transportation: Pasadena Transit stops directly in front of the Museum. Please visit for schedules. The MTA bus line #180/181 stops in front of the Museum. The Memorial Park Station on the MTA Gold Line, the closest Metro Rail station to the Museum, is located at 125 E. Holly St. at Arroyo Parkway. Please visit for schedules. Planning your Visit: For up-to-date information on our guidelines and protocols, please visit

instagram new logo  @nortonsimon

Twitter   @nortonsimon

FB   /nortonsimonmuseum