“In times past,” Varda tells us at the start of this wondrous, humane reflection on the art of scavenging, “only women gleaned.” Urban dumpster divers; rural potato pickers; shoreline oyster collectors; a chef who picks his own stock; Rogier van der Weyden’s The Last Judgment; a brickmason who constructs eerie sculptures out of discarded dolls; Louis Pons’s collages; Étienne-Jules Marey, the inventor of “chronophotography”; vineyard grape pickers; the unfamiliar crevices of Varda’s own hand. The Gleaners and I is a catalog of subjects candid, unsettling, touching, and sublime, gathered and arranged into a curious, playful, very Varda whole. “On this type of gleaning—of images, impressions, emotions—there is,” Varda insists midway through the movie, “no legislation.” An NYFF38 selection.
Playing as part of Varda: A Retrospective, December 20-January 6. See showtimes & get tickets.