Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Gleaners & I (2000)

Agnès Varda


Legendary filmmaker Agnes Varda takes digital camcorder in hand and roams about the French countryside in search of "gleaners." An age-old practice, as depicted in Millet's famous painting, performed traditionally by peasant women, gleaners scavenged the remains of a crop after the harvest. Varda finds their modern-day equivalent collecting rejected potatoes outside of Lyon, fallen apples in Provence, and refuse in the markets of Paris. Along the way, she talks to a man sporting yellow rubber boots who has lived on trash for ten years, a gourmet chef who gleans for his restaurant, a homeless doctorate in biology who teaches literacy courses to immigrants for free, a couple of artists who use trash in their work, and the grandson of early cinema innovator Étienne-Jules Marey. Along the way, Varda discusses heart-shaped potatoes, big trucks on the highway, the waste of consumerism, and the ravages of time. This film was screened at the 2000 Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals.


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