The Gleaners and I
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Agnès Varda, Grande Dame of the French New Wave, has made 2001's most acclaimed non-fiction film - a self-described "wandering-road documentary." Beginning with the famous Jean-François Millet painting of women gathering wheat left over from a harvest, she focuses her ever-seeking eye on gleaners: those who scour already-reaped fields for the odd potato or turnip. Her investigation leads us from forgotten corners of the French countryside to off-hours at the green markets of Paris, following those who insist on finding a use for that which society has cast off, whether out of necessity or activism. Varda's own ruminations on her life as a filmmaker (a gleaner of sorts) give her a connection to her subjects that creates a touching human portrait that the L.A. Weekly deemed "a protest film that's part social critique, part travelogue, but always an unsentimental celebration of human resilience."
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 38
- Fresh: 35
- Rotten: 3
- Average Rating: 7.8/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: The film is studded with found metaphors and serendipitous insights.
Fresh: Charged with the pleasure of discovery.
Fresh: Urgent, graceful, accessible and at times openly cheerful -- it takes a big bite out of life.
Fresh: In its frames, we see [Varda's] empathy, skill, curiosity, wit, poetry and passion for life: everything she has gleaned from a lifetime of love and movies.