Sans Toit ni Loi (Vagabond) (Without Roof or Rule)


Sans Toit ni Loi (Vagabond) (Without Roof or Rule)

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Total Count: 19


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,759
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Movie Info

Vagabond, directed by Agnes Varda is the dark disturbing story of a female drifter named Mona (Sandrine Bonnaire). The film opens as Mona's frozen body is found in a drainage ditch and proceeds to tell her story in a series of flashbacks and semi-documentary style "interviews" with the people who have known Mona during the last few weeks of her life. Mona is a distant, independent and not-very-likeable woman who goes from place to place, living where she can and with anyone who will take her in. Mona's true nature remains a puzzle, both to those who thought they knew her, and to the audience. As the movie progresses it becomes clear that no one knew the true Mona and she, because of her aloofness and essential coldness, provided a canvas for those she met to write upon. Who Mona really was, and what she thought remains ambiguous. Sandrine Bonnaire is excellent as Mona, making an unappealing and cold character interesting and intriguing. Director Agnes Varda began her career as a still photographer. This beginning is evident in her elegant framing of the film. She has an instinctive awareness of and a photographer's eye for visual detail which makes the film cold, bleak, and aridly beautiful. Internationally acclaimed, Vagabond is Varda's most successful film. ~ Linda Rasmussen, Rovi


Macha Méril
as Madame Landier
Stephane Freiss
as Jean-Pierre
Marthe Jarnias
as Tante Lydie
Yahiaoui Assouna
as Assoun (the vineyard worker)
Dominique Durand
as le premier motard
Patrick Schmit
as le camionneur
Daniel Bos
as Le demolisseur
Katy Champaud
as la jeune fille e la pompe
Raymond Roulle
as le vieux aux allumettes
Patrick Sokol
as le jaune homme au sandwich
Pierre Imbert
as le garagiste
Jacques Berthier
as Le petit monsieur blen-mis
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Critic Reviews for Sans Toit ni Loi (Vagabond) (Without Roof or Rule)

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (5)

Audience Reviews for Sans Toit ni Loi (Vagabond) (Without Roof or Rule)

  • Aug 08, 2014
    Think of a road movie made by Lynne Ramsay, but with existentialist tones of Sharunas Bartas and a tone of melodrama. This rare combination describes around 55% of Varda's dark tale about a young woman found frozen in a dicth, probably dead, for then proceeding to a recollection of her anecdotes that took her to that tragic extreme. Since her debut, Varda was always concerned more with the surroundings of the main story rather than with the story itself, or with a straightforward narrative. Films beginning with the tragedy of the protagonist for then telling the previous story normally carry some sort of point or message, and despite its increasing bleakness, <i>Vagabond</i> is no exception. If we take the hypothesis stated in the previous paragraph about the surroundings mattering more than the simplicity of the story itself as true, then it is justifiable to leave the life background of Mona, the protagonist, as ambiguous. Even her personality isn't fully described or unraveled because those answers are hidden from us, maybe to avoid any sort of judgmental bias. The way she behaves with everybody is self-centered, cold and rude. No explanation is given for this attitude whatsoever. This might be the first audience filter, as some will find her character as either uninteresting or difficult to feel empathy towards her, thus preventing a stronger emotional connection. However, films dealing with this kind of isolation, reflected in the characters she meets and in the array of landscapes, normally work better if we are maintained in a level of isolation from the character as well. Not everybody will accept this in a movie, which is completely understandable. Again, if we take the hypothesis as true, then <i>Vabagond</i> is much more a film about how an array of differing characters might react to the sight of a hitchhiking and homeless adolescent girl rather than a single character study, simply because of the fact that surroundings matter more. That's one of the most important traits of cinema for me: the surroundings. With a story of this nature, they could not be omitted. This is reflected by the interview segments that resembles a documentary, and what's the true purpose of a documentary if not to capture a slice of reality? It does not reach the energy or freshness of Ramsay, or the invigorating isolation of Bartas, and the combination is not quite masterful, but it is easy to appreciate this disturbing journey as a reflection on how a person that is clearly rejecting the system she hates so much becomes a part of the system by becoming useless in this world and a burden to the people that decide to give her a roof. With no permanent roof to house her or a law to suit her interests, <i>Vagabond</i> is a rather thought-provoking, although pessimistic look at the consequences of rejecting a system that is bigger than our individual capabilities as a person. Outcasts, unfortunately, are meant to be destroyed in this hostile world. Not for the faint of heart. 79/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2011
    Pursuing the roads for purpose, meaning, and acceptance. A subjective examination of a pernicious interpretation of freedom, Vagabond is an Agnès Varda character examination that simply observes and appreciates, mostly dependent on the outstanding performance of a young Sandrine Bonnaire as Mona Bergeron. Outstanding.
    Jan Marc M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 21, 2010
    a interesting 80s french drama, with a strong performance from the lead, a woman found dead in a ditch and through flashbacks of various people she met on her journey we see how it came to be, its by no means perfect, but a interesting enough point of view and telling of story keeps it interesting
    scott g Super Reviewer
  • Jul 20, 2010
    A teenage girl is found frozen to death in a ditch on a winter morning in rural France. Through flashbacks and interviews, the rest of the film shows the audience how she got there. It's not a happy or pretty story, but it's a story worth experiencing. The film follows this young woman, named Simone "Mona" Bergeron, as she travels on foot across Southern France. We watch as she encounters others such as herself, and others who are not like her at all. She drinks too much, uses drugs, has sex seemingly indiscriminately, seems to have no goals or plans other than life on the road. She reveals a few desires along the way, such as wanting to have a potato farm and wanting a relationship with someone, but when both opportunities present themselves, she does not make use of them. We are never told any more about her, where she is from, if she is running away or running to, and from or to what. The people who knew her along the way discuss her only in the barest of details, in that they don't know any more than we do about her. There are several scenes of people judging Mona based on her outward appearance. Yes, they are correct in some instances, but somehow they still come across as clods for thinking that way. I've always found Southern France to be beautiful, with its quaint towns, wide fields of lavender, grapes and sunflowers, and fountains. However, in director Agnes Varda's hands, this open landscape turns into something desolate and unfriendly, cold to all but the most privileged of its citizens, but yet still beautiful. It is very much a metaphor for Mona's life. With the exception of a few characters -- Madame Landier the agronomist, Yolande, Jean-Pierre and his delightful old aunt Lydie -- only Mona is given any real screen time. Sandrine Bonnaire won a Cesar (the French Academy Award) for her portrayal of this down-and-out young woman. She was only 18 at the time, and she does a wonderful job of making Mona both sympathetic and distasteful -- we are told she smells bad, she is lazy and rarely it seems that she appreciates the things people do to help her. But yet you still want her to succeed, even though we know from the very beginning that she won't. Bonnaire resembles a young brunette Jeanne Moreau, so much so that I researched to see if there was any familial connection (I didn't find anything.) You might want to save this film for another time if you are feeling in any way down or lonely. But don't forget about it. You may be saddened, but you won't be disappointed.
    Cindy I Super Reviewer

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