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Movie Review: The Gleaners and I

Story: Eighty year old French film maker Agnes Varda delivers a wonderful documentary about gleaners, What the heck are gleaners,'you say? Gleaning dates back centuries in France. Peasants (usually women) would go to the wheat fields and gather the leftover sheaves and kernels after the harvest. This is such an 'ingrained' tradition in France that it is written into their Penal Code. (You have to love the French!) This tradition is present to this day and had expanded its boundaries to cover most of the country and everything in it. This 'road trip' of a film, photographed by Varda with a hand held digital camera, and wonderful commentary (by Varda) is filled with wonderful characters and dialogue. We are introduced to a wide variety of 'gleaners' including the impoverished, artists, teenagers, families, gypsies and all others levels of the socioeconomic strata. In lesser hands this could have been a depressing sociopolitical rumination, but Agnes Varda delivers us a real treasure. It is a delightful film and leaves you with a lot to think about when exiting the theater.

Acting: This is a documentary. There is no acting, per se.

Critters: Lots of wonderful dogs (it is France) cats, birds and sheep.

Food: Lots of gleaned food, including all kinds of fruits and vegetables, potatoes, bread, you name it.

Visual Art: Wonderful, creative sculptures made from gleaned material.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: Very little music except for an occasional French rap piece on gleaning. Even that aspect of the film was classy.

Opening Titles: A cat opened the credits. I was instantly hooked.

Theater Audience: Not very interesting pickings. It was at the Film Forum so it was a dedicated bunch of cinephiles (like LOBO).

Quirky Meter: 6

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Nit Picking: This should be renamed nit-gleaning for this film.

Big Screen or Rental: You will probably have to rent this one (it will never appear at your local multiplex) or it might even appear on a cable channel someday....good luck with that such.

Length: 85 minutes