Vagabond (1985)

Agnes Varda directs Sandrine Bonnaire, Macha Méril and Yolande Moreau in this drama exploring people’s encounters with a free spirited, wandering homeless girl and how their lives where affected by meeting her.

Like Sunset Boulevard, we start with our protagonist dead. Then like a documentary, we hear people remember their temporary interactions with her, often Rashomon style, as their prejudices do not tallying with the footage dramatised onscreen. Yet long after she has moved onto the next part of her journey, we return to the less “free” ensemble, see their lives are often just as vulnerable and limited as her spartan, shelterless movements. Especially the other women. Despite the grim subject matter and muddy look this isn’t all misery and polemic. There are moments of wit, moments where Bonnaire’s magnetic lead turn defiantly inspire you with her pig headed determination. For a film that starts and then circles back to such a doomed destination, the journey is full of pleasure and intelligence.


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