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Vagabond

(Sans toit ni loi)
France 1985. Dir: Agnès Varda. 105 min. DCP

Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice, the extraordinary Vagabond may be Agnès Varda’s masterpiece. A powerful, poetic drama told with Bressonian rigour while also displaying Varda’s fondness for documentary, Vagabond reconstructs the final days of a defiant young drifter named Mona — played, magnificently, by Sandrine Bonnaire, here an 18-year-old relative newcomer. The film opens with Mona frozen to death in a ditch. It then proceeds, through flashbacks and “interviews,” to piece together her story from the recollections of those who encountered her. The memories of these witnesses reveal much more about their own prejudices, perceptions, and moral failings than they do about Mona. Much of the cast is non-professional. Bonnaire won the Best Actress César for her performance. “Vagabond burns in the memory, lucid and unsentimental, like the challenging gaze of Sandrine Bonnaire” (David Thomson).


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REVIEWS

"A masterpiece, clearly one of the finest films in many a year."

Chicago Tribune | full review

"Austerely beautiful ... In the protagonist, Varda has created an everyperson worthy of Samuel Beckett's."

Chicago Reader | full review