The Gleaners & I
Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse
Here and there in France. Agnès has come across gleaners, foragers, rummagers and scavengers.
Agnes Varda, Grande Dame of the French New Wave, has made 2001's most acclaimed non-fiction film -- a self-described "wandering-road documentary." Beginning with the famous Jean-Francois Millet painting of women gathering wheat left over from a harvest, she focused 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 glener 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."