The Gleaners and I | Chicago Reader

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82 minutes · 2000

A superb documentary (2000) by Agnes Varda, the sole woman member of the French New Wave, who not only wrote and directed but also shot the film with a digital camera. The film begins by musing on people who pick up what's left on the ground after mechanical harvesting and moves on to interviews with other types of gleaners: artists who use found objects, a Michelin two-star chef who forages for herbs, and folks who troll for discarded food in supermarket Dumpsters, pick up edible detritus after market stalls have been struck, or furnish their homes with sidewalk discards. Varda seamlessly weaves in poetic interludes on famous images of gleaners by French artists, a magical sequence in which she stumbles upon a junk-shop work that combines two of her favorite harvest paintings, and her own feelings about aging, travel, and the cinema. Not to be missed. In French with subtitles.

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