Sunday, May 24, 2009

Our Daily Bread: A movie review

"Our Daily Bread" had been staring me at the DVD rental shop for months, and I kept rejecting in favor of something else, because I had a feeling I knew what would come, a full on indictment of industrial food production. I rented it Friday, and that is what I got. A kind of Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance experience completely about the industry that manufactures much of the food we eat without the cool Philip Glass music. In fact there is no music at all; the only speaking one can hear is the very quiet speech of workers from a distance, and there is little other background noise other than machine or animal sounds.

The blurb for the movie says:

OUR DAILY BREAD is a wide-screen tableau of a feast which isn’t always easy to digest - and in which we all take part. A pure, meticulous and high-end film experience that enables the audience to form their own ideas.

We may have been enabled to form our own ideas, but the images left me with very little wiggle room. My conclusion is that if the results of the industry portrayed in this film were my only source of nutrition, there would be no need for my continued existence. Fortunately I have other sources, and am struggling to create my own, so I still have a place here.

The food industry degrades the existence of everyone that comes in touch with it. There is often a disclaimer at the end of movies, something to the effect of "No animals were harmed in the making of this movie." My son chuckled that the disclaimer at the end of this one should read something like, "No animals were unharmed in the making of this movie." From birth the babies were raised to live the most miserable lives imaginable, only to be killed in the end so their bodies could be consumed by humans. The humans involved faired only slightly better, the odds being good that their lives would not end at the hands of another person, and less likely that their bodies would be consumed by canibals. Thier working lives were either as drones serving the mutant plant food, or right out of the first ring of circle 7 of Hell in the river of blood to which we are all doomed if Dante was right. This Hell in Phlegethon is Dante's name for the river of hot blood that serves as the first ring where spillers of blood themselves, violent offenders are submerged to a level corresponding to their guilt.

My convictions about the food industry and my choises were reenforced, and it was ironic that today a friend questioned my decision not to feed my children meat, as they ate spaghetti with "meat sauce," whatever that may be. I wanted to tell them about the film, but didn't think it would be a good idea to ruin their meals. I just said that I don't want to feed my kids the industrial food products any more than I want to eat it myself. 

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