Yes, another French film has made its way to my list. This one is by the great Agnès Varda, a filmmaker whose birthday I share, which has made me feel even closer to her than I did before I knew–and that is to say, very close. I feel that everything she made throughout her life was a small gem, sparkling throughout, ever optimistic and illuminating. She is a storyteller with enormous compassion for ordinary people, and this film delights me as she tells of a tradition for using what is left behind. The film, though, is not just about the gleaners. The title has been translated into English as “The Gleaners and I,” which I think is good in its emphasis on the filmmaker’s active participation in the movie, but lacking in its identification only of an observer, and not the active participant that Varda is in this project. She, too, is a gleaner, and this film is a catalogue of her gleaning of flea markets, dumpsters, and numerous neighborhoods, where she sees the treasure in so much and so many that might have gone forgotten, but also in herself, as object.

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