Vagabond

  • 1985
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Atmospheric, cold, and distancing, yet somehow engaging, VAGABOND combines a stylized documentary technique with the fictional vision of writer-director Agnes Varda. The picture opens in the dead of winter, as a farmhand discovers a woman's frozen corpse in a ditch--her long hair a tangle of knots, her skin hidden beneath a well-worn leather jacket and...read more

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Atmospheric, cold, and distancing, yet somehow engaging, VAGABOND combines a stylized documentary technique with the fictional vision of writer-director Agnes Varda. The picture opens in the dead of winter, as a farmhand discovers a woman's frozen corpse in a ditch--her long hair a

tangle of knots, her skin hidden beneath a well-worn leather jacket and filthy blue jeans. This was Mona (Bonnaire), a fiercely independent "vagabond" whose last weeks are reconstructed in flashback and in "interviews" (both with actors and nonprofessionals Varda found during shooting) with people

who met Mona. It soon becomes clear, however, that no one really knew her. Mona is not a character many will entirely like or identify with, nor is one expected to. Varda presents her story without any sentiment, and in the process she tells the stories of a number of different people whose lives

were altered, perhaps permanently, by their contact with the vagabond.

After working in the shadow of the more popular French New Wave directors for years, the then 57-year-old Varda broke new ground in narrative film with her methods in VAGABOND. Her visual prowess is on ample display as well, potently rendering a rich portrait of Mona and her world. Equal credit

for the movie's success, however, must go to Bonnaire, who perfectly transforms herself into the filthy, aimless, and enigmatic wanderer that the role calls for. Bonnaire justly won a French Cesar for her remarkable performance, and the film itself took the Golden Lion for Best Picture at the

Venice Film Festival.

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  • Released: 1985
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Atmospheric, cold, and distancing, yet somehow engaging, VAGABOND combines a stylized documentary technique with the fictional vision of writer-director Agnes Varda. The picture opens in the dead of winter, as a farmhand discovers a woman's frozen corpse i… (more)

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