Vagabond (1985)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Road Movie, Feminist Film  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - R
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A study in time, memory and compassion, Agnès Varda's Vagabond (Sans Toit Ni Loi) opens with the death of its main character, the perpetual drifter Mona (Sandrine Bonnaire), and proceeds to piece together the events of her life until the fatal moment. Though there are elements of mock-documentary and even murder mystery in the film, Varda uses the devices primarily to expose their inadequacies in "investigating" her subject. Ultimately, the omnipresent, objective viewpoint of the director's camera tells us more about Mona's disposessed, inert lifestyle than any of the interviews. Despite its grim outcome, the film doesn't wield any particular feminist or political agenda. As with much of Varda's work, the approach is more personal-philosophical: the director seems to be suggesting that the the romantic ideal of a free spirit is a farce; instead, the unlimited freedoms of modern culture leave aimless, displaced young people like Mona callous and emotionally void. Bonnaire has the ability to be captivating in her nihilism; without her, Varda's elliptical structure might have been merely frustrating.