I still have a handful of 2020 films I want to watch, and I was planning on watching at least one today, but sometimes life changes plans for you. Much of my afternoon instead of watching a new movie, was spent huddled away from screens with a severe panic attack. After a couple hours of crying, I needed a film that would feel more like a hug than anything else.
The Gleaners and I (2000, Dir. Agnès Varda)
Settled on the couch with a bunch of blankets and two cats covering me, though ironically not my cat Varda named for the director, I turned on the largest blind spot I have from one of my all-time favorite directors The Gleaners and I. I have infinite I could say about Agnès Varda, and I’m sure that I will say quite a lot over this year (her complete works is the blu-ray box set I was alluding to in yesterday’s post).
For today between the residuals of the panic attack, and in service of having more to say when I watch future Varda films, I want to just touch on what she does that makes her arguable the greatest documentary filmmaker of all time. When she picks a topic on which to make a film, she doesn’t just tell the story of the topic. Instead, she tells the story of her learning about the topic. By injecting herself into the topic, she prevents a story on food waste from becoming dry or preachy. Her personality and love for other humans is capable of elevating anything. It’s just such a joy to have her behind the camera.