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THE GLEANERS AND I

France, 2000 (MIFF 2001, Documentaries)

Director: Agnès Varda

An intimate, picaresque inquiry into French life, as lived by the country's poor and its provident, as well as by the film's own director, Agnès Varda. The aesthetic, political and finally, moral point of departure for Varda are gleaners, those individuals who pick at already reaped fields for the odd potato, the leftover turnip, and in previous generations, were immortalised by the likes of Millet and Van Gogh. Varda isnt particularly interested in immortalising today's gleaners but in investigating the reasons that the anonymous (desperate and Quixotic both) and the celebrated (including a famous chef) choose to sift through our detritus. Along her journey, Varda constructs a portrait of France that is every bit as modern as the digital camera with which she does her filming, and in the process comes up with her finest, most effective work.

Major Award winner at Vienna, Chicago and Santa Barbara Film Festivals. Voted Best Documentary at the European Film Awards.

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