Friday, February 5, 2010

Food on Film

It looks like food is making it into the mainstream spotlight. This year's academy awards will feature two food-related nominees. In the same vein of your Michael Pollans and Marion Nestles, "Food Inc." presents an expose of the negative environmental and social implications of America's food system. Naturally in the Feature Documentary category, the film touches upon the same issues as many of the recent foodie lit. Unlike literature, though, this film reaches a wider audience and conveys the human element of our industrial food challenge with more poignancy. Take a look at the trailer; take a look at the film; take a look at the companion book that expands upon the stories discussed in the documentary. If you liked "Food, Inc." check out "Our Daily Bread" and "Botany of Desire".

If you are more into the fictional realm, "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is high on my list. With all the hype over "Up," I don't have much hope for a win, but this animated film is top notch. Based on the Roald Dahl book, FMF takes a critical look at big industry agriculture...even if it's only tangentially. While the farmers may have been justified in going after Mr. Fox for stealing, the film is almost a running commentary on the separation of our food-growing operations from the natural environment and its mechanization. Outside of that, this movie is fantastic in its own right! Cleverly put together, creative old-school stop-gap animation, and a funny dialogue. Highly recommended and my vote for best animated feature flick.

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