The Outcast as a Mirror

  • Michal Quigley


AGNES VARDA'S VAGABONDE: THE OUTCAST AS A MIRROR In 1985 French filmmaker Agn├Ęs Varda released what is considered by many to be her seminal work, Vagabonde(1) (Sans toit ni loi). The film represents over thirty years of experimentation with narrative structure and character development. Varda, who has always been fascinated with the audience's participation in the production of meaning, has created a film in which the reactions of secondary characters build a portrait of an enigmatic woman. The director invites the audience to participate in uncovering of the "mystery" surrounding the life of a dead woman. On the surface, Vagabonde is a deceptively simple story. The film opens with the image of a frozen female corpse and a narrator (Varda) tells the audience that what follows are interviews with the people who knew her in the last weeks of her life. Through interviews and flashbacks the viewer learns...