one-night event showing of Vagabond [Sans toit ni loi] .
Co-Sponsored by the Women & Gender Studies Program at Canisius
Ticket Information: Free and Open to the Public
• Stop in early for FREE Breadhive granola while supplies last! •
courtesy of Criterion Collection:
Sandrine Bonnaire won the Best Actress César for her portrayal of the defiant young drifter Mona, found frozen to death in a ditch at the beginning of Vagabond. Agnès Varda pieces together Mona’s story through flashbacks told by those who encountered her (played by a largely nonprofessional cast), producing a splintered portrait of an enigmatic woman. With its sparse, poetic imagery, Vagabond [Sans toit ni loi] is a stunner, and won Varda the top prize at the Venice Film Festival.
“I’m not interested in seeing a film just made by a woman – not unless she is looking for new images.”
The only female director of the French New Wave, Agnès Varda has been called both the movement’s mother and its grandmother. The fact that some have felt the need to assign her a specifically feminine role, and the confusion over how to characterize that role, speak to just how unique her place in this hallowed cinematic movement—defined by such decidedly masculine artists as Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut—is. Varda not only made films during the nouvelle vague, she helped inspire it. Her self-funded debut, the fiction-documentary hybrid 1956’s La Pointe Courte is often considered the unofficial first New Wave film; when she made it, she had no professional cinema training (her early work included painting, sculpting, and photojournalism). Though not widely seen, the film got her commissions to make several documentaries in the late fifties. In 1962, she released the seminal nouvelle vague film Cléo from 5 to 7; a bold character study that avoids psychologizing, it announced her official arrival. Over the coming decades, Varda became a force in art cinema, conceiving many of her films as political and feminist statements, and using a radical objectivity to create her unforgettable characters. She describes her style as cinécriture (writing on film), and it can be seen in formally audacious fictions like Le bonheur and Vagabond as well as more ragged and revealing autobiographical documentaries like The Gleaners and I and The Beaches of Agnès.
LinksHere is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:
8/31/15 – Today via The Criterion Collection: “Just a casual courtyard chat between Agnès Varda and Guillaume-en-Égypte” – link
9/2/15 – Need an Agnès Varda primer prior to our upcoming series on the grandmother of the French New Wave at Canisius College this fall? Helen Carter’s summery overview in Senses of Cinema serves as a perfect introduction! – link
9/3/15 – Wonderful interview w/ Agnès Varda on her home on the rue Daguerre, Paris via Sight & Sound – link
9/24/15 – Great news! Two Agnès Varda rarities – Jane B. and Kung-Fu Master – are headed for a US re-release thanks to Cinelicious Pics! – link
9/29/15 – Agnès Varda on Coming to California – link
10/1/15 – “The investigative structure of the film is an attempt to reconstruct the final days of Mona’s life through what Varda describes as “pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that is inevitably incomplete” and reveals more about the people who talk about her than about Mona herself, who remains ungraspable (the film’s working title was “À saisir,” a term that means both “to seize” a property and “to understand” or “to grasp” something).” Chris Darke on Agnès Varda’s Vagabond – link
10/6/15 – Agnès Varda shares credit for making an impact on feminist cinema in Kelly Gallagher’s riot grrrl infused THE HERSTORY OF THE FEMALE FILMMAKER! – link
10/9/15 – Via The Criterion Collection today: “Agnès Varda keeps popping up in the most unexpected places. The indefatigable eighty-seven-year-old filmmaker stopped by our offices this week, along with her daughter, Rosalie, to say hello and fill us in on what she’s been up to. We’re happy to report that this legend of the French New Wave—and beyond—shows no signs of slowing down.” – link
10/12/15 – Violet Lucca speaks with Agnès Varda back in 2011 for Film Comment. – link
10/13/15 – “In contemporary North America, female homelessness remains largely an invisible phenomenon. Out of sight, women are also proverbially out of mind, which silently suggests that economic and sociological constraints don’t affect women in the same radical manner as men; that women aren’t displaced, forced to relocate for work, or faced with precarious housing. Two films—with twenty years between them—that directly engage with these issues are Vagabond (Agnès Varda, 1985) and Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt, 2008).” Tina Hassannia, cléo – link
10/16/15 – “Vagabond has been called Agnès Varda’s Ulysses, and with good reason. The comparison with James Joyce’s era-defining epic novel extends well beyond a recognizable similarity between the two artists. Both writer and filmmaker occupy vanguard positions in the history of their respective forms, each bringing an experimental vitality to his and her work that affirms the social dimension of art. Just as Joyce attempted to describe contemporary consciousness by reworking the Homeric foundation of modern culture, so does Varda model her simple tale-—of a woman’s place in today’s complex and unresponsive world—on that seminal document of modernist cinema, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane.” Sandy Flitterman-Lewis on Vagabond – link
10/18/15 – At 87, Agnès Varda continues to make the news with a new video essay by Kevin B. Lee on her work found over at Fandor – link
10/21/15 – “In Mona, Varda created a young woman she describes as “the incarnation of the great NO!” A feral female I’ve never seen before either in film or literature: refusing the basic tools of civilization, refusing to be seductive or seduced, refusing responsibility or continuity, totally unprepared for tenderness. Mona is an unforgettable heroine, a walking affront to society. Where can Varda possibly go from there?” Lynne Littman Littman on Vagabond, International Documentary Association – link
10/23/15 – “There is no expert witness who has some objective perspective. Rather, the film multiplies perspectives. It invites, even demands, the viewer’s own testimony from her own perspective, a testimony that can vary as much as those represented in the film. The viewer is drawn into the film as a third party in every relationship. Since the characters often speak directly to the camera, the viewer is put into the position of the documentarian, analyst, or confessor, who bears witness in the sense of listening to the testimony of others.” Kelly Oliver, Subjectivity Without Subjects: From Abject Fathers to Desiring Mothers – link