The Ghosts in Our Machine
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3 items from 2013

Film Review: ‘The Ghosts in Our Machine’

9 December 2013 8:01 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Livestock consultant Temple Grandin had the right idea when she said, “ I feel strongly that we give animals a life worth living,” whereas animal-rights expose “The Ghosts in Our Machine” seems considerably more perplexed about its own agenda. Ostensibly an attempt to make “human animals” more empathetic toward the living creatures they might otherwise eat and wear, Liz Marshall’s incredibly difficult-to-watch docu shadows photog Jo-Anne McArthur, whose snaps (surprisingly few of which are featured here) depict cruelty and abuse to the most cuddly finned and four-legged creatures she can find. This off-putting pic requires open minds and iron nerves.

McArthur sees herself as a war photographer working on the front lines of an “invisible” battle for animal rights — an intriguing but poorly defined term in a film that seems to confuse the reciprocal love domesticated pets provide with the fact that animals are just that: animals, many of which »

- Peter Debruge

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Film Review: ‘The Ghosts in Our Machine’ is Passionate Yet Muddled

6 December 2013 3:18 PM, PST | | See recent news »

Chicago – It’s difficult to comment upon a documentary like “The Ghosts in Our Machine,” as it advocates an important issue regarding our very nature – the relationship we have with our food and the animals that provide that food. However, the structure of the film and the centerpiece photographer profile obscures the point of view.

Rating: 3.0/5.0

That photographer is Jo-Anne McArthur, whose life’s work is capturing the images of animals – used for food and fur – in the often harsh environments of their developmental captivity. This is difficult stuff, especially if you have a relationship with an animal or just love them overall. It may change your attitude toward meat eating in any form, or it may at least provide some perspective on his ongoing “elephant in the room” – that of the inherent torture of food and fur animals before they are inevitably slaughtered. Director Liz Marshall has rendered an almost meditative film, »

- (Adam Fendelman)

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Animal Rights Doc The Ghosts in Our Machine Is Utterly Engrossing

5 November 2013 9:00 PM, PST | Village Voice | See recent Village Voice news »

In her work as an animal rights activist, photographer Jo-Anne McArthur tries to get everyday people to grapple with the moral, ethical, and spiritual issues that underlay our relationships to animals. "I feel like I'm a war photographer," she says early in the documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine. "And I'm photographing changes in history in terms of animal rights and where they're going."

Director Liz Marshall's camera trails McArthur everywhere, from meetings with a potential book editor to clandestine night shoots at factory farms, slaughterhouses, and research labs, immersing the viewer in the struggles of her heroine — saving animals, building her career in order to gain currency that can then be used to shine a light on the issue, trying to protect her own »

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