Agnès Varda, godmother of the French New Wave is coming in person to the Aero Theatre! Join her for a double feature! First, THE GLEANERS & I a marvelous “wandering road documentary” focusing on the centuries-old French tradition of picking up the cast-offs of others. Then, the acclaimed VAGABOND,the simple, yet unrelenting story of the last months in the life of a young female drifter, played by Sandrine Bonnaire. Discussion between films with director Agnès Varda.
THE GLEANERS & I
LES GLANEURS ET LA GLANEUSE
2001, Zeitgeist, 82 min, France, Dir: Agnes Varda
French New Wave pioneer Agnes Varda’s marvelous “wandering road documentary” focuses on the centuries-old tradition of “gleaning” in France – literally, picking up the cast-offs of others. Varda follows rural scavengers who gather leftover vegetables after the harvest, and urban scavengers who collect discarded food and appliances from the streets of Paris. Varda interweaves these scenes with her own intimate thoughts on aging, humorous interviews with judges and attorneys who debate – Monty Python-style – the legality of gleaning while standing in potato fields, and a host of other spontaneous musings on French art and culture. Through it all, the director’s patient sense of social obligation shines through, as she asks again and again, “How can one live on the leftovers of others?” Winner, Best Non-Fiction Film – National Society Of Film Critics.
SANS TOIT NI LOI
1985, Ciné-Tamaris, 107 min, France, Dir: Agnès Varda
Agnès Varda’s most acclaimed work since CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7 and arguably the greatest French film of the 1980s, VAGABOND tells the brutal, simple, yet unrelenting story of the last months in the life of a young female drifter. Sandrine Bonnaire’s harrowing performance in the lead role made her an overnight international star at the age of 18. (The French title of the film literally translates as “without roof or law.”) Shot in a semi-documentary style, the film opens abruptly on the body of Mona, frozen to death in a ditch on the side of the road. Interspersed with flashbacks of Mona’s life as a drifter are reminiscences by the people she met along the way. In spite of Varda’s attention, Mona ultimately remains unknowable, even to herself. She is a cipher, misunderstood by those she has encountered even as they recall their impressions and interactions with her for the camera.
Both films in French with English subtitles.