Hadn’t watched this in a long time. I misremembered it as her neorealist movie – a grim, straightforward portrait of a wandering homeless girl. Apparently I missed or forgot all the really interesting bits: scraps of interviews with people who’d seen the girl, out of chronological order, and the great dramatic violin music between episodes. It’s as poetic and beautiful as Le Bonheur, or any of Varda’s other features.
Sandrine Bonnaire had already starred in Pialat’s A nos amours, would later headline Rivette’s Joan the Maid. As Mona the Vagabond, she tries different odd jobs, a couple boyfriends (a pothead vagrant and a Tunisian farm worker), stays with a hippie philosopher goat-farmer (playing himself), is picked up by a rich woman thrilled to have contact with a lower class, and best of all she meets (and temporarily replaces) Yolande Moreau (lately of Micmacs and The Last Mistress), employed by an old woman with bad eyesight.
Doesn’t sound like it makes any sense from my description, but it won the golden lion at Venice, so there. And as always, Varda has the best DVD extras, which she produces herself. One reveals a documentary moment in the film, where Varda staged a bus-station conversation between the vagabond who inspired the film and an older man, while Sandrine and Yolande roam in the background of the shot.