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We Feed the World (2005)

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A look at how the world's food is produced and how mass production changes the environment and the lives of people.

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A look at how the world's food is produced and how mass production changes the environment and the lives of people.

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30 September 2005 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Emeis trefoume ton kosmo  »

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A Nutshell Review: (SIFF) We Feed the World
14 April 2006 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

So I begin my selection of this year's SIFF with a documentary. Directed by Erwin Wagenhofer, We Feed the World begins by highlighting a very fundamental wastage. That of overnight bread, tons of it being offloaded, meant for the incinerated, when there are thousands left hungry.

The documentary focuses on various aspects on the supply side of the food chain, giving some insight to the various industries which produce food, like fishing, vegetables and poultry. It also provides a glimpse into the political side of supplying food, that of the profit maximization strategy of any public company (here, it's Nestle), of the genetically modified seeds which supposedly produces superior crop as opposed to better tasting, natural ones, and various EU plans and initiatives which seem to go down the wrong path instead of fulfilling its supposedly planned objectives.

While it covers a lot of ground, some segments proved to be a little draggy and preachy. I particularly enjoyed the segment on the fishing industry, where there are plans to wrest knowledge from the small timers operating smaller fishing operations, and to eventually merge/close them down when the bigger boys come into the picture. As demonstrated in the movie, there are reasons why big trawlers doesn't equate to fresher and better catches.

The other segment which moved was on the Brazilian's poor north-eastern parts, where on one hand, you have very poor people going hungry all the time, yet Brazil's one of the major exporters of maize to Europe. Maize which are used for burning for fuel generation. It just boggles the mind, and makes you feel sad at the way things work, illogical as it may seem, in the name of profit - watching the kids drink untreated murky water, and the adults resorting to unnatural means of keeping their children alive, will gloom your day.

And I could have swore off chicken come the final segment. Nowadays lifestock are treated as an 8-week cycle of a production line, from incubating, hatching, fattening, until the final days of slaughtering, where they're hung upside down by the legs in conveyor belts, before passing through a circular bladed discs where their throats are slit, and left bleeding till death. For those which are missed by the blades, there is a butcher on standby with a knife to do the deed.

But while the movie tried to made its points, what I found lacking are the many ways in which to link the message to the issues. Many times it felt a little sporadic, or the linking done quite weakly through intertitles. That aside, perhaps I'm already attuned to the more in-your-face style of Michael Moore, nevermind if there are echoes that his style is manipulative. For a topic like this, perhaps it could gain from that bit of controversy to hammer its opinions through.


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