10 Things I Learned: One Sings, the Other Doesn’t
The film was originally called Women and Children First and had been scripted to take place entirely in 1962, when the two heroines, Suzanne and Pomme, were fifteen years old. But director Agnès Varda ended up abandoning that earlier version because she felt it had fallen into the trap of being what she called a “report-on-what’s going-wrong-for-women-with-men-children-and-society.” Instead she wanted to focus on how women she knew in the feminist movement were “on the move towards living well,” giving the film a lighter, more humorous tone.
Before making this film, Agnès Varda had long been a vocal participant in the women’s movement in France. She was one of the signatories of the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971, a document in which 343 prominent women—including actor Catherine Deneuve and writer Simone de Beauvoir—publicly declared, at risk of criminal prosecution, that they had obtained illegal abortions. Varda was also involved with a group that organized trips to Holland for French women seeking abortions, like the one that Pomme takes to Amsterdam.