Vagabond (Varda, 1985): Room B33, Birkbeck College, Malet St, 6pm
This is part of the summer film season at Birkbeck College. Here is the introduction:
In this series we will watch three films in which the main protagonist is an itinerant or a wanderer. Whilst there is a great deal of journeying in cinema, this series distinguishes itself from the main stream genre of the road movie -whose forward propulsion mimics or can be seen as a metaphor for both the film itself rushing through the projector,and for narrative itself as linear journey rushing toward resolution and/or death. In the classical Hollywood journey/odyssey genre film the protagonist is often the active (often male) agent who mobilises the (often) linear trajectory of the films’ structure.
In this series we are interested in films that wander, meander, loop and weave -films that explore aimlessness, waiting, 'dead time', margins and associative oblique trajectories, films whose movement follows a different pattern, structure and logic creating a disorganised mobility that allows us to ask the question: can the cinematic produce nomadic subjectivities and what can that mean politically, psychically, formally, affectively, aesthetically?
After the screening there will be a panel discussion chaired by Amber Jacobs with Professor James Williams (Royal Holloway) Dr Libby Saxton (Queen Mary College).
Chicago Reader review:
The road movie takes a somber turn in this austerely beautiful 1985
French drama by Agnes Varda. Sandrine Bonnaire stars as a woman
hitchhiking aimlessly through the unearthly winter landscape of southern
France and surviving on handouts and ephemeral liaisons with strangers.
Varda maintains a detached mood of melancholy and dread with lingering
shots of etiolated plains and stunted vineyards, but at times her
tracking shots of diseased trees, abandoned chateaus, and rusted fences
become a bit relentless in their message that contemporary life is
blighted and confining. At times Varda also slips into the bogus
Brechtian posings of her earlier, execrable One Sings, the Other Doesn't—Mona's
brief acquaintances stare into the camera and utter profundities such
as "I often think of that hitchhiker: she was free and I am not. Where
did she come from? Where did she go?" But in the protagonist, Varda has
created an everyperson worthy of Samuel Beckett's.
Here is an extract.