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(aka 'The Gleaners & I' or 'The Gleaners and I)

directed by Agnès Varda
France 2000

There's a suggestive discrepancy between the French and English titles of this wonderful essay film completed by Agnes Varda last year. It's a distinction that tells us something about the French sense of community and the Anglo-American sense of individuality -- concepts that are virtually built into the two languages. Les glaneurs et la glaneuse can be roughly translated as "the gleaners and the female gleaner," with the plural noun masculine only in the sense that all French nouns are either masculine or feminine. The Gleaners and I sets up an implicit opposition between "people who glean" and the filmmaker, whereas Les glaneurs et la glaneuse links them, asserting that she's one of them.

Gleaners gather up the leftovers of edible crops -- grain, fruit, vegetables -- after the harvesters are finished with their work. Varda la glaneuse films what other filmmakers have left behind after their harvesting. The link between the two activities is made graphic at one point when Varda gleans a potato with one hand while filming it with the other. She keeps shifting between the kinds of gleaners she finds -- in paintings as well as life -- and her own diverse gleaning activities, such as bringing back souvenirs from Japan or collecting memorabilia on her road trips while making this film. She also does such things as film the veins in her hand to record the process of her aging.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE.

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Theatrical Release: July 6th, 2000 (TV)

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DVD Review: Zeitgeist Video - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Zeitgeist Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:18:30 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.49 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Zeitgeist Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later (59:22)
• Production Notes
• Filmography

• Liner notes by New York Times film critic A.O. Scott

DVD Release Date: July 23rd, 2002

Keep Case
Chapters: 22

 

Comments:

Not a fatally poor image, but a weak one to be sure. Non-progressive (note combing in last large capture) and sometimes appearing a little saturated, the image has some artifacts and appears to have been taken from an analog source. I dislike the yellow subtitles, but applaud the addition of The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later.

Good liner notes and a decent package if only the image were improved. Well, we will take what we can get. The film is strongly recommended.

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

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