Food, Inc. (2008)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Food, Inc.</strong> (2008)

(On DVD, December 2009) The past decade has seen an unprecedented boom of interest in the way we eat, and after conquering TV networks and bookshelves, those ideas are dripping onto the big screen as well.  In this case, the kinship between books and documentary is obvious: Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) are two main interview subjects and if Pollan is merely credited as a special consultant, Schlosser also co-produced the film.  Food, Inc takes on the task of exploring the less attractive aspects of the secretive food production industry, from corn to cattle to burger.  Along the way, it explains a number of troubling realities that will be familiar to Pollan and Schlosser’s readers: How family farms are a charming relic of the past; how (de)regulation is having a disproportionate impact on our health; how food production is being controlled by very few entities; how those entities have captured governmental agencies and are given extraordinary rights to silence their critics.  Discussing food, it increasingly becomes obvious, quickly comes to touch other crucial social issues such as migrant work, copyright reform, and the role of government in industries.  As a documentary, Food, Inc is up to current standards, with a mixture of interviews, infographics, location footage and archival footage.  It’s not always pleasant to watch, but it’s informative, and gives added context to the growing amount of information about the food supply.  Though heavily US-centric, it describes issues at play in Canada as well -although I’d be curious to see a comparative examination of our regulatory regimes.  Well-made, provocative, stirring and (eek) important, it’s well worth watching as another warning light on our modern dashboard.

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