Film Series: The Female Gaze: French Women Directors Shine a Light on Their World

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 an introduction by Rainer at 5:50 p.m.


No reservations taken. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Film still from Le Bonehur
Film still from Chocolat
Film still from Things to Come
Film still from Vagabond
Film still from Le Bonehur

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.

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Film still from Chocolat

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.

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Film still from Things to Come

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.

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Film still from Vagabond

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. 

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