Vagabond | Chicago Reader

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105 minutes · 1985

The road movie takes a somber turn in this austerely beautiful 1985 French drama by Agnes Varda. Sandrine Bonnaire stars as a woman hitchhiking aimlessly through the unearthly winter landscape of southern France and surviving on handouts and ephemeral liaisons with strangers. Varda maintains a detached mood of melancholy and dread with lingering shots of etiolated plains and stunted vineyards, but at times her tracking shots of diseased trees, abandoned chateaus, and rusted fences become a bit relentless in their message that contemporary life is blighted and confining. At times Varda also slips into the bogus Brechtian posings of her earlier, execrable One Sings, the Other Doesn't—Mona's brief acquaintances stare into the camera and utter profundities such as "I often think of that hitchhiker: she was free and I am not. Where did she come from? Where did she go?" But in the protagonist, Varda has created an everyperson worthy of Samuel Beckett's.

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