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Vagabond (1985)

Sans toit ni loi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 16 May 1986 (USA)
2:22 | Trailer
A young woman's body is found frozen in a ditch. Through flashbacks and interviews, we see the events that led to her inevitable death.


Agnès Varda


Agnès Varda
8 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Sandrine Bonnaire ... Mona Bergeron, sans toit ni loi
Setti Ramdane Setti Ramdane ... Le marocain qui la trouve
Francis Balchère Francis Balchère ... Un gendarme
Jean-Louis Perletti Jean-Louis Perletti ... Un autre
Urbain Causse Urbain Causse ... Un paysan interrogé
Christophe Alcazar Christophe Alcazar ... Un autre, brûleur de fossé
Dominique Durand Dominique Durand ... Le premier motard
Joël Fosse Joël Fosse ... L'autre, Paulo, amant de Yolande
Patrick Schmit Patrick Schmit ... Le camionneur
Daniel Bos Daniel Bos ... Le démolisseur
Katy Champaud Katy Champaud ... La jeune fille à la pompe
Raymond Roulle Raymond Roulle ... Le vieux aux allumettes
Henri Fridlani Henri Fridlani ... Le fossoyeur
Patrick Sokol Patrick Sokol ... Le jeune homme au sandwich
Pierre Imbert Pierre Imbert ... Le garagiste


In winter in the south of France, a young woman is found frozen in a ditch. She's unkempt, a vagabond. Through flashbacks and brief interviews, we trace her final weeks as she camps alone or falls in with various men and women, many of whom project their needs onto her or try to give her life direction. She squats in an old house smoking hash with a man, falls for a Tunisian laborer and works beside him pruning grape vines, stays with a couple shepherding goats, meets an agronomist trying to save plane trees, gets tipsy with an old woman, and has an offer to appear in porn films. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


In the opening segment, Mona (Sandrine Bonnaire) is lying in a ditch in the vineyard. The character Mona is supposed to be dead, but if you look at the actress's neck you can clearly see a neck artery visibly pulsing. See more »


la platonologne Mme Landier: Why did you drop out?
Mona Bergeron, sans toit ni loi: Champagne on the road's better!
See more »


References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »


Variations sur la Vita
Composed and directed by Joanna Bruzdowicz
See more »

User Reviews

mindless drifter on the road carrying such an easy load
6 May 2007 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Agnès Varda is commonly associated with the Nouvelle Vague and more than François Truffaut, Jean-Luc "God Ard" or Eric Rohmer, she delivered some of the jewels of this French trend with "Cléo De 5 à 7" (1961). It doesn't mean that everything she made turned into gold. One can skip "les Créatures" (1966) without remorse. Twenty years later, she issued her strongest work since "Cléo De 5 à 7" which justifiably dominated from an artistic perspective French cinematographic production: "Sans Toi Ni Loi" that caused a stir.

It works as an alternation of flashes-back and interviews with people about their recollections involving a female rambler named Mona. We won't know much about herself. After she passed her high school diploma, she started to work for different bosses as a secretary but grew tired of his job. So, she packed in to leave for adventure through odd jobs. However, Varda's heroine keeps all her mystery and ambiguity. Are we really sure about what she says? Doesn't she lie? The female filmmaker doesn't comfort the audience because as the elements of the puzzle are pieced together, she throws the people who met Mona out in the same basket, either it is this university professor, this Maroccan guest worker or this former philosophy student who believed in the events of May 1968 in France: they are all responsible for Mona's death because of their egoism, their lack of communication with her. Varda delivers a similar message to her 1961 film: loneliness is a burden and it's better to open oneself to others to make things improve.

"Sans Toi Ni Loi" has the form of a documentary with a gritty tonality in which the female filmmaker keeps a certain distance with her heroine and everything she goes through. Thanks to this, tawdry or violent sequences take another dimension like the moment when the garage owner leaves Mona's tent pulling up his trousers or the man who rapes her in the woods. We won't see the horrid act.

Varda hired non-professional actors and that's why her film has a larger than life feel. An impression accentuated by Sandrine Bonnaire's sensational performance. She "lives" more than she acts her role. The role of this rambler fits her like a glove.

This is one that can stand multiple viewings.

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Official Sites:

Ciné Tamaris [France]




French | Arabic | English

Release Date:

16 May 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vagabond See more »

Filming Locations:

Saint-Aunès, Hérault, France See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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