Les glaneurs et la glaneuse

After some recent tests, I saw attendance in my classes drop significantly.  I bought a California burrito from La Burrita and returned home to watch Agnès Varda’s “The Gleaners and I,” a documentary about people who pick over the remnants of harvesting for potatoes, fruit, and such.  The movie made me wonder just how much food around the world is being wasted.  If these potatoes were being dumped, I questioned why people with cars and trucks wouldn’t swarm to the site and haul away tons of the potatoes.  It was a reminder of this period when people didn’t have cell phones.  Varda shows people who go through dumpsters to get food.  One of the men said that he lost his job as a truck driver, and his life went downhill from there.  Of course, his actions had a lot to do with the direction of his life if he failed a breathalyzer test.  What this film reminded me of was Varda’s earlier film “Vagabond.”  Varda is a presence in the movie, as she films her old hands as a reminder of her aging.  She says that her end is near.  She salvages a clock without hands, which is meaningful to her.  There was one idea in the film that didn’t work, which was showing a lens cap dangling.  I just didn’t that was amusing or interesting.  Varda showed a lot of shots of trucks, with her hand grabbing at them.  That was kind of amusing, but it went on a little too long.  Not all the people in the movie were struggling.  Some of them were sharing their food.  It was sad to see those grapes left on the ground.  Varda in one scene picks some figs and bites into them.  She looked like she was being a bit wasteful.  This film was a switch in Varda’s filmmaking methods, with the use of a digital camera.  It shows that Varda thinks of herself as a kind of gleaner in her filmmaking.  I thought “The Gleaners and I” was one of her best films, and it was quite satisfying.  I liked the last sequence with the painting.  It was a nice way of ending things.  Varda is 88 years old now.  I can’t believe how long ago “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t” was released.  Some of the people who died on September 30 include James Dean (1955), Mary Ford (1977), Simone Signoret (1985), and Patrick White (1990).  Today is a birthday for Marion Cotillard (41), Fran Drescher (59), Barry Williams (62), and Angie Dickinson (85).

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