Sunday, July 17, 2011

946. Les glaneurs et la glaneuse/The Gleaners and I (2000)

Running Time: 78 minutes
Directed By: Agnes Varda
Written By: Agnes Varda
Main Cast: Agnes Varda, Bodan Litnanski, Francois Wertheimer


Well, according to the "1001" book, "The Gleaners and I" IS the first "must see" film of the 21st Century, as it gets the coup in kicking off the year 2000. The film is a documentary, directed by Agnes Varda and while it certainly sounds like a very boring synopsis, it's actually not too bad.

I always have a hard time describing documentaries, but I'll give it my best shot, as always. I also ask that you bear with me if this review isn't up to snuff, because I have a cold that is walloping my butt big time. Quite simply put, "The Gleaners and I" is about people who salvage. The term originated back in the days of farmers and farming and the word "glean" was used to describe people who would scour harvested land, picking up any crops that were left lying on the ground. To "glean" is to take what has sprouted out of the ground and to "pick" is to take what is hanging from a vine or tree. The film follows several different types of modern day gleaners, people like homeless men and women, who are forced to pick their meals out of dumpsters and artists who use the items that people have thrown away to create art. Agnes Varda takes the trip with us, interviewing and conversing with these gleaners and through the film you're able to criss cross on the roads of Europe. It's hard to believe how many legal barricades, bar people from taking leftover crops or trash that people have thrown out.

I'm not going to spoil anything, so no need for a warning. I read the synopsis for the film and I started watching it and I thought this was going to be TERRIBLE. I mean, why on Earth would I want to watch a nearly ninety minute documentary about people who pick things up off the ground. In actuality, once the film started getting going, it was quite interesting. Surprisingly this was a nice movie to watch when I was sick, because it was fairly laid back and was kind of perfect for a Saturday afternoon in bed. I think the most appealing part of the documentary to me, was getting to be Agnes Varda's passenger as she traveled through France. I've always been fascinated with foreign countries and to hear the people of France speak from the heart and see the French landscapes and sights, was quite interesting.

"The Gleaners and I" certainly isn't the best documentary I've seen thus far, but it held up and didn't really disappoint. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "must see", but I'd say if you get the chance to kill seventy-eight minutes, it'd be worth your time and despite the way it sounds, it's NOT at all a bad film.

RATING: 6/10 Again, sorry for the short and sweet review, but I just wanted to get in here and jot some things down. This really isn't the film that called for a LONG review anyway, so I think all is well.


Note: I plan to be finished with this 100 films on Monday and ready to have my TOP 20 posted by Monday night, Tuesday morning at the latest.

July 16, 2011 10:17pm


  1. There are a few Agnes Varda films on this list, and I have struggled to get along with her other ones. But this one did strike a note with me, as I very much agree with the point she is trying to make about the terrible waste modern food supply methods create.
    Frequently Agnes Varda's 'heroes' are (to me) rather fail to attract my sympathy and understanding. People she wants me to like come out as selfish (Vagabond, I seem to remember, had me decidedly disliking the main character). But the vast majority of the gleaners came over well. Id agree not exactly a 'must see', but one of those I will remain greatful that 'The List' had me watch.

  2. I liked this film a lot. My husband thinks the French are rude and arrogant. But I like that not beating around the bush mentality. I.E. the young man tells Agnes she put too much about herself in the movie. Cajones.


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