the gleaners

The Gleaners

Last week I killed two birds with one stone – got some French practice in while viewing an acclaimed documentary by Agnes Varda, “The Gleaners and I.” Though it was slow going and I found the first half pretty boring, eventually the meandering, off-the-beaten-path storytelling grew on me.

Gleaners are traditionally people who follow along after the harvest, picking up all the crops that have been missed by the reapers. Taking her inspiration/point of departure from the Jean-François Millet painting above, Varda went out in search of modern day gleaners – not only farm foragers but also trash pickers, junk refurbishers, upcyclers, and artists who find their raw materials on the streets. Between vignettes about these people, Varda added little interstitial bits of weirdness and whimsy – her hand making circles around distant trucks; a lens cap’s “dance” as the camera bumps along on an accidentally filmed walk; a robed judge standing in a field explaining property law. My neurotic brain is drawn to the meta, so the idea of Varda gleaning all her footage for odds and ends to throw into the mix was sort of delightful to me (even when not so delightful to watch).

The slow pace did make following along in French a lot easier. I tried to ignore the subtitles as much as possible, but I should have just turned them off. It’s so hard to avoid your eye wandering down to them even when you can understand most of what’s being said.

If I were really committed, I would rewatch the movie without subtitles and try to glean some new vocabulary now that I know the general story. 🙂

(Let’s face it, I’m not that committed – but I do still want to watch a couple of Varda’s other films that I’ve heard good things about: The Beaches of Agnès and Cleo from 5 to 7.)

have a good weekend!

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 4.00.20 PM

Fireworks are one of my favorite things and I am so excited to see them tonight! Though I am less excited about the thunderstorm that may or may not precede and possibly ruin the festivities.

A blustery day off like this one calls for an indoor adventure so I’m about to head six blocks away to the Brooklyn Museum to see the new summer exhibits. Ai Weiwei and “Art and Civil Rights in the 60’s” both look  great.

Tomorrow I will be heading about six blocks in the opposite direction to a soccer-specific sports bar that is screening the Argentina-Belgium World Cup game. I can’t be bothered this weekend to head out to Soho at 9:30am just to watch with Argentines. Haha, I almost wrote “other Argentines” before realizing I am not at all Argentine so that would be a completely inaccurate statement.

Hope your weekends are spectacular and dry, unless you’re headed to a water park or something. 🙂

model UN meetup

French meetup June 30

On Monday I attended my second French meetup since starting this blog. I met: a German radiologist, an Iranian realtor, a Parisian teacher/vintage clothing seller, a Lyonnaise digital marketer, a Chinese woman whose occupation I did not catch, and an American artist/art history professor. Quite an eclectic gathering. The flag garlands hanging from the ceiling for the World Cup heightened the international effect. (Hazy, nondescript proof of attendance above.)

One interesting thing I learned at this Meetup, from the Parisian: In French, if you think someone paid far too much for something you’d say “C’est du vol.” This translates approximately to, “It’s a steal” – which is what you’d say in English for the exact opposite, when someone pays far less for something than its actual value. I suppose if you translated the French to, “It’s a rip-off,” instead of, “It’s a steal,” the usage would be the same as in English, but I don’t feel like doing that because then I would not have any fun facts to share.

In other news, in the week since I signed up for the language exchange sites, I’ve received 3 messages from people who want to chat. I have yet to open any of them. Baby steps…