The Gleaners and I
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
- Agnès Varda's exclusive 60-minute sequel THE GLEANERS AND I: TWO YEARS LATER
- Production notes by Varda
- Varda filmography
- Liner notes by New York Times film critic A.O. Scott
- Optional English subtitles for both films
- Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer disc
Top Customer Reviews
At times the film moves slowly as Varda includes some personal shots related to her aging and trucks passing by on the highway, but these moments of introspection are quiet pauses and do not detract from the whole of the film. The DVD has a bonus hour- long "Two Years Later" film that revisits some of the people we first met and is equally enjoyable. All in all, this is a documentary that is eye-opening and respectful of its subject.
What interests me most about the documentary, however, is the way in which Varda connects her own practice as a filmmaker to the practice of gleaning. After all filmmaking and especially documentary filmmaking depend upon and take up the remains of reality, that aspect of reality that can be taken for free, and the taking of which does not diminish the possession of its owners. In that sense, filmmaking is essentially gleaning, and in arguing for the rights of gleaners, Varda is also providing a defense of her own practices. What is nice about her involvement in the film is that while she is always present, and while she includes herself among the gleaners presented in the film, she does not in any way push herself upon the viewer. As much as I love the films of recent auteur documentarians such as Moore and Spurlock, there is something very refreshing about the way in which Varda makes her presence felt in this film.
What is perhaps even more remarkable about the film than this provocative analogy is the way in which her film subtly raises questions about the nature of film and responds to a long-standing debate on this topic. There are two major strands of thinking about what is distinctive of film. One is the tradition of thinking (e.g.Read more ›
This film is rich in texture, deep in multiple meanings, provides a variety of real characters, a visual feast of various regions of France and how the act of gleaning is as alive today as when the famous paintings were made centuries ago.
It has given me a new appreciation for the "scrounging" that I, and others I know, have done over the years. I think from now on I'll always refer to it as "gleaning."
People and situations will look different to me because I've seen this film. The gleaners are all around us. Now they are no longer invisible.
Of course it is trite to recall that "one man's trash is another man's treasure," but it is so. How dearly archeologists love ancient midden sites, and how much we can learn about the ancients from their trash. But Varda is here to show us that we can also learn a lot about modern people from what they throw away, and from what is gleaned, and from the gleaners themselves. I thought the guy who ate (grazed almost) as he went through the market place after closing was interesting. Clearly going through the trash is something instinctive with humans: no doubt it comes from our prehistoric past when we were hunters and gatherers.
The main focus here is on gleaning fruits and vegetables left behind by mechanized pickers. It is interesting to note that there are laws going back hundreds of years that regulate gleaners. (Varda puts a French lawyer on camera to quote some relevant law.) I was fascinated to see that there are dumpster divers in France. In America dumpster diving has been a big deal since at least the sixties. Today there are Web sites devoted to dumpster diving, and I personally know some people who dumpster dive for fun and profit. It was also interesting to see just which fruits and vegetable are gleaned from the ground and from the trees and vines and plants left after the harvest, and to hear from the people who do the gleaning. Varda shows mounds of potatoes left behind, and we learn that both potatoes too small and potatoes too big are discarded by the producers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would recommend. It was filmed just prior to 2000 in France. It's a bit different presentation than I'm used to but found the whole idea of gleaning really very interesting. Read morePublished 5 months ago by MaryAudra
I've used this film in an environmental/sustainable literature class just to provide a visual reference for my students to compare with the assigned texts. Read morePublished 10 months ago by P. Herron
This movie is enjoyable for individual entertainment and education, but I used clips in class with high school students when we were discussing recycling. Read morePublished 24 months ago by translator
Agnes Varda's riff on the idea of gleaning is imaginative and reportorial at the same time. Showed this dvd at a "Ciné Club" meeting at the Sacramento, CA Alliance... Read morePublished on November 14, 2013 by Jane T