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

1985

Sans Toit ni Loi (Vagabond) (Without Roof or Rule) (1985)

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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

Cast

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 (18) | Top Critics (3)

The road movie takes a somber turn in this austerely beautiful 1985 French drama by Agnes Varda.

Apr 4, 2013 | Full Review…

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

Jan 16, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

What a film this is. Like so many of the greatest films, it tells us a very specific story, strong and unadorned, about a very particular person.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

A remarkable and chilling example of social-realism enshrined in a cautionary fable of a broken society.

Oct 31, 2018 | Full Review…

This smooth, gliding action gives the camera the feel of a floating apparition observing a moment while in transit, attempting to draw in as much detail as possible but never stopping to stare.

Jun 28, 2018 | Full Review…

An unmissable film from this great director.

Jun 27, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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

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 Macababayao
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

it's a beautiful film, perhaps a little too poetic in it's view of homelessness. definite tones of' 'into the wild' in other characters' envy of the heroine's freedom. i loved how varda framed shots but was a little annoyed at characters breaking the fourth wall. sandrine bonnaire is excellent, well worth a watch

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

An interesting French film, one that is in many ways meant as an answer to Citizen Kane. Like Kane, the film begins with the central character?s death and then tells that person?s life story through flashbacks remembered by various people she met. The difference is that instead of telling the story of a millionaire it tells the story of a homeless woman. Of course, this isn?t anywhere near as great as Citizen Kane, but it is an interesting take on that film?s format. The things that happen to the vagabond are not spectacularly interesting in and of themselves, but they form an interesting portrait. The ultimate irony, is that in many ways this vagabond is much happier when she dies than Charles Foster Kane could have ever dreamed to be.

MJS MJS
MJS MJS

Super Reviewer

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