This documentary was the talk about town for a while in my corner of the world, so I was quite keen to see it. It turned out the be the type of movie which would have thrown me into the thralls of delicious juvenile mal de vivre when I was still juvenile; nowadays I see it less benevolently as subtle manipulation on part of the filmmaker. Basically the movie delivers a pastiche of interesting images and statements, and then juxtaposes them in an unnerving way. We see large soy bean plantations being cut into the Brazilian rainforest (or is it just Brazilian forest?), some talking head says that the ground there is totally unsuitable for soy bean production (whatever that means), there is a text insert stating that an enormous amount of Brazilian rainforest has been cut down (although it doesn't say whether this was for soy bean production), then we see images of desperately poor Brazilians who don't have enough food to eat or access to clean water -- all this with images of tons of slightly stale bread being dumped in Vienna still lingering in the viewer's mind from the opening scene. OK, what do we make of this, apart from the fact that the world is an imperfect place? How do we get those loaves of bread from Vienna to the Brazilian wastelands? The movie has no intention of telling you, it contents itself with subtly upsetting its viewers -- it leaves you in no doubt that something is wrong in the state of Denmark, but doesn't tell you exactly what it is or how to fix it. Maybe one way to help those peasants would be to give them work on the soy bean plantation, but then the movie is against the global food trade -- so no dice. It is also against farm subsidies and protectionism, and suggests that food is generally too cheap and that local farmers should earn more, while the multinationals are making far too much money -- all of which is certainly well-intentioned, but also contradictory. If you have smartened up and turned away from buying the cheapest and most processed foodstuffs, if you try to buy regionally and seasonally, and are paying more attention at taste rather than looks, then you are already past this movie. However if you are a less discerning consumer then this movie is probably a good starter.
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