Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Gleaners And I (2000) Film Review
The Gleaners And I
Reviewed by: Symon Parsons
Making a documentary on people who collect what others throw away doesn't sound like great material does it? But this is a film all about finding value where others see nothing, and Agnes Varda's good-natured documentary does exactly that.
Varda herself is a big part of this film. Her eccentric humour and relentless enthusiasm takes her into the countryside to explore the history of the gleaners - traditionally those who clean up what's left after the harvest.
From there she travels to the cities to see what urban gleaners get up to, and finds artists finding material in scrap and a man who eats left-overs as a form of activism against waste.
She also discovers that gleaning can be fun - after all when something has no value it's more easily shared, treasured and ultimately given value.
If I'm making this sound dull, then I'm doing Varda a misservice because her sense of humour dominates the film. Where else can you see a documentary that includes a scene of a lawyer in a cabbage field, a fridge full of Lego revolutionaries, a dancing lens cap and a dog wearing a boxing glove?
This film isn't some polemic against waste, it's a journey to places you'd never go, to see things you'd never expect to find. As salvage artist Louis Pont puts it, "Where others see a cluster of junk, I see a cluster of opportunity."Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001