Sans toit ni loi

Sans toit ni loi, Agnes Varda

Sans toit ni loi, Agnès Varda, Frantzia, 1985, 105’, JBAES, DCP

Actress Sandrine Bonnaire was still a teenager when she starred in two key French films of the 80s: À nos amours (1983), by Maurice Pialat, and the one we present today, Sans toit ni loi (Vagabond) (1985), by Agnès Varda. Both earned her Best Actress Cesar awards and Bonnaire immediately became a French youth icon.

Here, director Agnès Varda presents a requiem dedicated to Mona, a teenager powerfully played by Bonnaire, wandering aimlessly the region of Nimes, rucksack on her back. The title leaves no room to doubt. Mona is free, Mona is non-conformist, Mona doesn’t want any attachments; there’s no such thing as a roof, as the law. But so much freedom can give birth to monsters, especially those prowling around this character. “You don’t exist,” she is told by a farmer who offers her stability she rejects. Mona doesn’t exist, but her figure, in the midst of that cold, rural landscape, is unforgettable, perhaps one of the most bitter portraits ever drawn by Agnès Varda in all her career.

“Austere, restrained, un-mitigating,” one critic wrote of the film after its release and in the light of its impact on audiences. Today, one cannot but cite the Dardenne brothers; Varda and the Belgian brothers have much in common in terms of tone, universes explored, types of characters drawn: the unprotected, the nameless, those who live and survive on the fringe, those who do not exist. It is not a documentary, but it could very well be. It plays with that. Varda forces us to look as though that had happened, as though we had allowed it to happen. The result is one of those films, one of those acting performances, which will remain with us “forever”.

Golden Lion at Venice.      

  • Date: Sunday, 23 April 2017
  • Schedule: 18:00
  • Location: Cinema - Screen 1
  • Access: Ticket
  • Price: 3,5€ (2x1 for underageds)
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