“the group” revisited by Agnès Varda., 30 May 2002
Sidney Lumet’s “the group”(from Mary McCarthy) was,in its own special way,some kind of woman’s lib manifesto.Here the group is a two-person team but we see them live during a pretty long time,from 1962 to the mid-seventies.It’s interesting to notice that abortion was legal in France only in 1975,thanks to minister Simone Veil.
Agnès Varda’s last feature film was “les creatures” a work for highbrows.”L’une chante,l’autre pas” is a return to an accessible ,more palatable style.All things woman’s lib indeed.Of the two characters ,Suzanne,played by beautiful Thérèse Liotard,is by far the most endearing:her path ran into difficulties,even tragedies:her lover’s suicide,her parents’ despise who treated her like a dog,her affair with a married man…Pomme is a singer who wants to be free,but she acts like a bubblehead girl:marrying an Iranian,were he the most liberal of them all, is not perhaps the right move..
A lot of this stuff has not worn well:the second part recalls hippies communities,and chic ones at that.The epilogue might be a nod to “le bonheur” her 1964 movie,which was nevertheless disputable in several respects.
Agnès Varda regained the audience’s favor in the eighties with “sans toit ni loi” and her superb love movie for her husband Jacques Demy “Jacquot de Nantes”.