2 January 2006 | jotix100
Jean Francois Millet, the French painter of the Barbizon school, seems to have been the inspiration for Agnes Varda's interesting documentary "Les glaneurs et la glaneuse". In fact, Ms. Varda makes it a point to take us along to the French countryside where Millet got the inspiration for his masterpiece "Les Glaneurs". Like in his other paintings, Millet comments about the peasantry working the fields in most of his canvases. One can see the poverty in his subjects as they struggle to gather crops for their employers.
Ms. Varda takes a humanistic approach to another type of activity in which she bases her story. In fact, the people one sees in the film are perhaps the descendants of the gleaners of Millet's time, except they are bringing whatever is left behind once the machinery takes care of gathering the best of each crop, leaving the rest to rot in the fields.
Agnes Varda takes a trip through her native France to show us the inequality of a system that produces such excesses that a part of it has to be dumped because it doesn't meet standards. On the one hand, there is such abundance, and on the other, one sees how some of the poor people showcased in the documentary can't afford to buy the basics and must resort to take it on their own to get whatever has been left in order to survive.
With this documentary, Agnes Varda shows an uncanny understanding to the problems most of these people are facing.