Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Vagabond - Filmhouse - 31/5/10

The frozen body of a young women lies in a ditch.

She is beautiful but her clothes and hair are dirty.

She has no possessions or any identification.

Who is she and how did she end up where she has?

Director Agnes Varda takes us on the road with the young vagabond and provides us with the answers to these questions and in the process asks us to think about even bigger questions; are we ever free, can we really be independent, do we have free will and what price do we pay for trying to be free, independent and to make choices?

The young woman is Mona (Sandrine Bonnaire) and we follow her as she hitch-hikes across Southern France meeting other vagabonds, doing odd-jobs, setting up home with a Tunisian vineyard worker, attempting to become a potato farmer with the help of a philosopher/goat farmer and, ultimately, dying in a ditch.

It's a tragic tale but filled with moments of warmth and humour.

Bonnaire is absolutely wonderful...full of fight, righteous indignation and vim. She seems, on the surface, to be totally free but as we become more and more involved with her we see that she is a prisoner just as much as anyone who is holed up in an office working nine to five. She is utterly reliant on others for everything and her end, when it comes, is all to easy to predict.

A clever, cautionary tale that is all too relevant to the world we live in now despite it being twenty five years old.

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