Teaching L’Opéra-Mouffe (1958)
This article describes the advantages of teaching Agnès Varda’s early short film L’Opéra-Mouffe, known in English as Diary of a Pregnant Woman, in an introductory course on film form. This award winning, sixteen-minute film offers a compelling demonstration of the core characteristics of the essay film, along with readily teachable examples of visual metaphor, cinematography, sound, and editing. Its cultural and auteurist contexts can also complement a variety of curricular topics, including the French New Wave and Left Bank creators, post war France, and feminist filmmaking. Finally, its focus on Varda’s personal experience of pregnancy also makes L’Opéra-Mouffe an ideal vehicle to introduce radical feminist pedagogies that recognize and value personal experience as a valid way of knowing about the world.