VAGABOND
SANS TOIT NI LOI
1985, Ciné-Tamaris, 107 min, France, Dir: Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda’s most acclaimed work since CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7 and arguably the greatest French film of the 1980s, VAGABOND tells the brutal, simple, yet unrelenting story of the last months in the life of a young female drifter. Sandrine Bonnaire’s harrowing performance in the lead role made her an overnight international star at the age of 18. (The French title of the film literally translates as "without roof or law.") Shot in a semi-documentary style, the film opens abruptly on the body of Mona, frozen to death in a ditch on the side of the road. Interspersed with flashbacks of Mona’s life as a drifter are reminiscences by the people she met along the way. In spite of Varda’s attention, Mona ultimately remains unknowable, even to herself. She is a cipher, misunderstood by those she has encountered even as they recall their impressions and interactions with her for the camera.


KUNG-FU MASTER!
LE PETIT AMOUR
1988, Cinelicious Pics, 80 min, France, Dir: Agnès Varda

Nope, French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda hasn’t come up with a martial arts flick; instead, this is a thought-provoking, poetic and occasionally humorous tale of forbidden love. Jane Birkin stars as Mary-Jane, a divorced mother of two drawn to a 14-year-old schoolmate of her daughter (played by Birkin’s real-life daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg). Varda’s real-life son, Mathieu Demy, plays the boy, graduating from video games (the inspiration for the film’s title) to the complexities of an adult relationship. In French with English subtitles.


JANE B. FOR AGNÈS V.
1988, Cinelicious Pics, 97 min, France, Dir: Agnès Varda

Jane Birkin started as an actress during London’s Swinging ’60s, sang duets with Serge Gainsbourg (whom she married), earned plaudits for humanitarian work … and is the subject of this delightful imaginary biopic. Birkin and director Varda are longtime friends, and this film emerges as a portrait of two talented artists who have challenged limitations placed on women in culture and society. In French with English subtitles.


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