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8.4
/10
5,332 Ratings

Vagabond

Sans toit ni loi

Directed by Agnès Varda
France, 1985
Drama

Synopsis

A stark portrayal of the defiant young drifter Mona. Found frozen at the beginning of the film, her story is stitched together through flashbacks told by those who she encountered before her death, producing a splintered portrait of an enigmatic woman.

Our take

A classic in Varda’s filmography, this film is as uncompromising in its portrayal of a woman who will not adjust as it is in its daring story structure. Winner of the Golden Lion in Venice, it is both a testimony of the director’s profound humanism and of her critical eye on our social judgments.

Vagabond Directed by Agnès Varda

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

1985 | 3 wins including: Golden Lion

César Awards

1986 | Winner: Best Actress

1986 | 3 nominations including: Best Film

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

1986 | 3rd place: Best Foreign Language Film

I find that irony is something that needs to be cultivated, and the few filmmakers who manage to do that are, for me, great masters. Even when she’s telling stories that are far from her own life, all of her films become like beads in a necklace that shines very brightly and decorates her.
December 03, 2018
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A fiction film posing as a lyrical documentary. . . . In the end, Mona’s physical reality is undeniable—her stink, her dirty fingernails, her tangled hair, her disintegrating boots, her struggles to eat and sleep and stay warm—but her character is impenetrable, her motives a mystery.
June 22, 2018
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The best movie that I saw at MdFF, perhaps unsurprisingly, was Vagabond, which upon review seems easily one of the greatest films of the 1980s—funny and unsentimental and unfathomably sad. Watching the conclusion… I thought of some lines from Francois Mauriac’s 1923 novel Génitrix which have always troubled me: "There was no tear-stained face for her to leave behind, nothing to mark for her this slipping into the shadows. She died quietly, as those who are unloved.
May 10, 2017
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What are people saying?

  • elif jazel's rating of the film Vagabond

    a great masterpiece! a deeply tragic story by Varda. and an amazing acting performance by Bonnaire. Im speechless.

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film Vagabond

    She emerges from the sea like the birth of Venus, then picks up a foul stench from living in the dirt instead of society. The film is idealistic enough to care for her, wise enough not to romanticize her, smart enough to tell when she's stupid or proud, and worldly enough to contextualize her within different designs for (female) living. A feminist masterpiece, yes—and a masterpiece pure and simple. Top tier Varda.

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Vagabond

    I like all of Agnes Varda's films, and this, I think is her finest. Sandrine Bonnaire is brilliant, and together they create an eloquent, sensitive portrayal of a true story that would probably have been quickly forgotten if Varda had not made this unforgettable film.

  • josé neves's rating of the film Vagabond

    DCP 2k, rewatched. Dedicated to the great writer Natalie Sarraute, wich i didn't remember, even though her 1960s most structuralist films had more directly to do with her. I do not think that Varda, or some elegant thinker of French modernity, knew anything about vagabondism, but she did about writing it - and it is in the characters transformation into dialoguing words that its interest begins and consolidates.

  • DrFirestone's rating of the film Vagabond

    A road film. A film about freedom - what it means, its price and possible consequences. But it's much more that that - it touches on society, poverty, loneliness. Once again, Agnès brings her subtle combination of warmth, sensitivity, and curiosity about life. I found the music quite annoying for the most part, also some scenes felt a bit out of place with abrupt transitions. Overall - a truly memorable experience.

  • Not A Sexy Vampire's rating of the film Vagabond

    Completely different than every other Varda film, yet still recognisably hers. Bonnaire is unforgettable in challenging role, portraying a character that is complex, difficult, largely unknowable but always sympathetic. She remains a cypher yet her haunting downfall in the final shot is devastating, inevitable even if despite being shown in opening scene. Might be Varda's masterwork but she's known for lighter work.

  • Sean Patrick Stevens's rating of the film Vagabond

    I was lucky enough to see this in 35mm having always heard so much about it. The film's social issues are surely thought provoking ( women,society, freedom ect.) but the combination of the unlikeable aspects of the main performance and the documentary like approach to the narrative which kept me interested (even when i shouldn't be) reminded me of my reaction upon reading Camus's THE STRANGER.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Vagabond

    Gleaning remnants of the French collective unconscious really, Varda's Bressonian journey of despair turns into a chthonic fresco of marginalized types of modern society's output. What is most remarkable is how Varda invests her shots with material volume and thus manages in many a glorious tracking shot and close up to turn Bonnaire's plight into an icon of human suffering. (The 4th wall breaches did not add much.)

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