The Gleaners and I
Directed by Agnes Varda
The Gleaners and I
Voted Best Documentary of 2001 by the National Society of Film Critics
Agnès Varda, Grande Dame of the French New Wave, made 2000's most acclaimed non-fiction film-a self-described "wandering-road documentary." 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 that the L.A. Weekly deemed "a protest film that's part social critique, part travelogue, but always an unsentimental celebration of human resilience."
The DVD of THE GLEANERS AND I also features Varda's 60-minute follow-up film THE GLEANERS AND I: TWO YEARS LATER (2002), which revisits the characters and issues of the original, and explores the many emotional and creative responses elicited by this one-of-a-kind film.
In 2016 THE GLEANERS AND I was voted one of the 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century.
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