11 December, 2013
The Gleaners and I by Agnes Varda [Jonny, Central]
You must see this little gem by Agnes Varda.
Varda has got a deeply personal and highly idiosyncratic approach to documentary-making-it's more like a visual essay than a conventional documentary.
Varda nimbly balances self-reflection, of a then 62 year-old film-maker, with a deeply humane, compassionate exploration of Gleaning in French society at the turn of this century.
The film is populated with a panorama of modern gleaners, some of whom glean to survive, for political reasons or for fun.
The films deeper concerns are with people left behind just as much as the things these people salvage from societies waste.
Varda's youthful new-wave spirit powers the free-flowing structure and her willingness to experiment with (what were then) the newest digital video cameras.
Initially the film's quirks might jar with some viewers, but once you adjust to its rhythms Varda's sharp intelligence, humour and warmth will draw you in and like me, you will be sad to reach the end of this wonderful film.
The disc also includes a follow up film made two years after the success of the first and is a perfect companion-piece.
Title: The Gleaners and I
Director: Agnes Varda
Distributor: Madman Cinema 2003