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The Gleaners and I
Directed by Agnès Varda • 2000 • France
Starring Agnès Varda
Agnès Varda’s extraordinary late-career renaissance began with this wonderfully idiosyncratic, self-reflexive documentary in which the French cinema icon explores the world of modern-day gleaners: those living on the margins who survive by foraging for what society throws away. Embracing the intimacy and freedom of digital filmmaking, Varda posits herself as a kind of gleaner of images and ideas, one whose generous, expansive vision makes room for ruminations on everything from aging to the birth of cinema to the beauty of heart-shaped potatoes. By turns playful, philosophical, and subtly political, THE GLEANERS AND I is a warmly human reflection on the contradictions of our consumerist world from an artist who, like her subjects, finds unexpected richness where few think to look.