The Gleaners and I
Location la: Redstone Theater
Dir. Agnès Varda. 2000, 82 mins. 35mm. In French with English subtitles. Named by the BBC as one of the 100 greatest films of the 21st century, The Gleaners and I is, like most Varda films, beyond categorization, simultaneously outward facing and self-reflective. Varda herself referred to it as a “wandering-road documentary, and she used the emerging format of portable digital cameras to achieve remarkable intimacy. Beginning with the famous Jean-François Millet painting of women gathering wheat left over from a harvest, she focuses her ever-seeking eye on gleaners: those who scour already-reaped fields for the odd potato or turnip. Her investigation leads us from forgotten corners of the French countryside to off-hours at the green markets of Paris, following those who insist on finding a use for that which society has cast off, whether out of necessity or activism. Varda’s own ruminations on her life as a filmmaker (a gleaner of sorts) give her a connection to her subjects that creates a touching human portrait.
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