Tuesday, September 4, 2012

734. Sans toit ni loi/Vagabond (1985)

Running Time: 105 minutes
Directed By: Agnes Varda
Written By: Agnes Varda
Main Cast: Sandrine Bonnaire, Yolande Moreau, Macha Meril, Joel Fosse, Stephane Freiss
Click here to view the trailer


Battling an ear infection, I took to my TV room with a stack of pillows and a comforter to continue on my cinematic journey through the pages of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book. This time around I finish off Agnes Varda's three films from the book, with the watching of "Vagabond", a film that really didn't do much for me.

One morning, while a farmer is tending to his daily chores, he comes across a dead body lying in a ditch and immediately phones the police. The body is that of a young girl, dressed in ratty clothing, hair mussed and possibly frozen to death, her face donning a blue tint with an icy glaze. We then flashback to get her story, the story of a girl no one really wanted and who really wanted no one. From there we get a pretty mediocre story of a drifter named Mona (Bonnaire), a girl who enjoys living outdoors, without roof or rule. She passes from one car to the next, sticking her thumb up and hitching rides from town to town. She travels with a pack of belongings on her back, most notably a tent that's seen better days. From there, Varda gets faux interviews from members of the cast, as they speak directly to the camera regarding the time they spent with Mona and about the encounters they had. We usually hear the interview and then see the actions that accompany each interview. Mona encounters several "lovers" along the way, a John Lennon looking hippie who offers to set up Mona with a trailer and a patch of land, a well-to-do female professor (Meril) and a housekeeper (Moreau).

There's really not much to say about "Vagabond". It just didn't do a whole lot for me and didn't seem to be anything worth getting into a frenzy over. The only thing about it that I'd consider "must see" would be the natural photography and the landscapes of France, which are beautiful and do as much as they can to add to this fairly dull story. I just didn't see the appeal of the drifter and it seems that I just can't seem to see the appeal in a lot of things that Agnes Varda holds dear. In fact, I can't seem to see what the big hubbub is about her and honestly, I would've been okay with them omitting all of her films. In fact, I'll break my concentration for just a moment and challenge any and all hardcore Varda fans to drop me a line in my comments box and tell me why you enjoy Varda's films and perhaps, your favorite Varda film. I don't really expect anyone to play along, but we'll see what happens.

For some reason, this was a shot that really stuck with me. Perhaps the most poignant shot of the film. It seems to be saying something powerful, although I'm not sure what.
It wasn't a terrible movie by any means, it was just incredibly flat. It wasn't poignant, it wasn't fascinating, it just was. It didn't bore me to tears or anything, but it certainly didn't excite me to watch it again or to go ranting and raving about it. If you're someone who doesn't have to see everything, then this is an easy pass. While the story sounds like it would be something original and unique, it's really just a story of a drifter girl and that's that. Although peeping on Macha Meril in the bathtub wasn't anything I'll be complaining about.

RATING: 5/10  Keeping it REALLY short today, because I simply can't think of anything else to say about "Vagabond". It's plain as toast and while it didn't bore me, it wasn't anything special either.


September 4, 2012  6:01pm

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