The Gleaners and I (2000/2002)

Agnès Varda directs herself, François Wertheimer and Bodan Litnanski in this documentary that explores the rich and the poor, freegans and artists who live off of the scraps discarded by commercial society.

Agnès Varda sure loved a fig. Watched with its companion piece following up on some of the more tragic figures 2 years later, this makes for a heartfelt, lively documentary exploring scavenging. Whether it be for off brand potatoes, rejected market produce or compelling footage, Varda brings to life a varied cross section of France united by her vague subject. Some dig through bins, others live the high life with bonus materials. One man even ‘gleans’ a better life, one where he may live in a hostel and live off scraps but where he educates immigrants and runs marathons. A very warm hearted look at a potentially tragic subject, that almost accidentally comments on globalisation and social upheavals. As “accidental” as a filmmaker as deft and emotionally intelligent can be. A really deep yet pleasurable documentary.

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