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Les glaneurs et la glaneuse

The Gleaners and I

Agnes Varda began her career as a photographer, and between feature films she has often reverted to her photo-journalistic roots. The subject of Les glaneurs et la glaneuse is the centuries-old tradition of gleaning left-over produce after the harvest. Originally a peasant woman’s job, the film demonstrates that gleaning has become a way of life for many cultural sectors, including the homeless, youth, philanthropists and artists. The film begins in the Musee d’Orsay with a painting, and returns to painting often, as well as to the origins of cinema, a kind of gleaning of images. Her interview subjects include a farm woman, a wine-grower, an acclaimed chef, an artist who works with found objects, a barkeeper, a man who has lived on garbage for ten years, and a descendant of ƒtienne-Jules Marey, one of the original inventors of cinema. But the film’s interests are infinitely wide-ranging. They include the filmmaker’s own ageing, the tiny new digital camera, big trucks on the road, the environmental disasters of consumer culture, the joys of finding chairs on the street, and her own aesthetic taste for images of mould and decay.

France, 2000.
English subtitles.
Colour.
82 min.

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