1.12.2010

Film fest

This past Saturday, I had my very own little at-home film fest, with a pot of green tea and a cozy blanket for company. My Saturday mornings are typically consumed by catching up on all of the week's loose ends (paying bills, doing laundry, etc.). It was such a delicious feeling to wake up and then simply relax for several hours instead of racing around the house getting things done (though I did that later on in the afternoon). I didn't quite get to The Guitar as planned, but I did watch two films I'd been meaning to watch for ages.

Food, Inc.
The posters for Food, Inc. proclaim, "You'll never look at dinner the sameway again. " I can assure you that, if you watch this film, you'll never look at many things the same way again. Narrated by Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, this searing documentary takes on industrial food production in the U.S., examining its hidden environmental, economic, and health
costs and exploring more sustainable alternatives to the current system. Prior to watching this film, I considered myself relatively well-informed about these issues, and for the past 5-6 years have made an increasing effort to eat foods that are locally grown, organic, etc. However, I must admit that I didn't fully understand how all of the issues were connected to large-scale food production and the influence of corporate agriculture. And while I had some idea of these companies' disturbing practices, I can't claim that I realized the extent of how they grossly mistreat animals, workers, small-scale farmers, and consumers. This film really helped to connect all of these issues, and make sense of them in a way both that is at once intellectually compelling and emotionally devastating. I promise you this film will leave you with a dramatically different perspective not only on food, but on life and our relationship to the earth, our bodies, and each other. By the way, Food, Inc.' website has lots of great suggestions for easy ways to get involved in working for a more sustainable system.

Enlighten Up!
As a yogi, I was quite excited to watch Enlighten Up! by filmmaker and dedicated yoga practitioner Kate Churchill, who sets out to prove that yoga can transform anyone. She selects Nick Rosen, a skeptical yet willing subject, to demonstrate her theory. Nick travels the world, visiting yogis and gurus whose practices and beliefs run the full range of the spectrum. Despite Churchill's efforts, Nick continues to view yoga as primarily a good workout rather than a path to spiritual enlightenment. These adventures make for an interesting film, but I was turned off by the way Churchill seemed like she was trying to force Nick to acknowledge yoga's transformational power (as evidenced by her oddly confrontational questions throughout the film). Overall though, the film's lighthearted and humorous tone makes for pleasant - if not terribly revelatory - viewing. Learn more by visiting the film's website.

I would love to hear your thoughts if you've seen either of these films.

P.S. I'm on a total documentary kick right now! I know all of you clever readers must have some great recommendations, so tell me: what's your favorite documentary?

9 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I watched Food Inc. a couple weeks ago, after reading Omnivore's Dilemma and, in general, having my eyes opened to everything that goes on in the food industry. Although I'm not changing my eating habits drastically, I avoid eating meat products from those major companies whenever possible.

I also recommend the documentary King Corn, all about the corn industry in America.

Green Chic said...

i have seen Food, inc. it was a real eye opener. i am very informed about what i put into my body. i became a vegetarian 2 yrs ago mostly because of the mistreatment of animals but for many health reasons also. it is amazing what the food industry gets away with calling "nutrition". can i recommend a book and two documentaries for you??...i just bought Michael Pollan's Food Rules (excellent and simple) and i saw a documentary that will REALLY move you...Peaceable Kingdom. loved it. i also saw a doc called A Chemical Reaction that is totally worth checking out. i am also a docu-freak :)

Meg said...

i love documentaries - they are oddly enjoyable to watch! my favorite is the planet earth miniseries about all the different wildlife in all the parts of the world. the cinematography is gorgeous and the animals are amazing - but it's long!

Ellecubed said...

I am also a huge documentary fan. Thank you so much for writing these reviews. I have been wanting to see Enlighten Up for awhile but have been hesitant because of the negative reviews I have seen. Your review has encouraged me to give it a chance.

I highly recommend Valentino (If you are looking for a little fashion and fun), The Cove (If you want to watch a thought provoking documentary the dolphin industry...Caroline at Hang On Little Tomato wrote an excellent review of the movie here: http://www.hangontomato.com/2009/08/cove.html) and Earthlings (if you are looking to delve deeper in to how animals are treated within the food industry.

robyn michelle-lee said...

we LOVE documentaries, and totally found food inc fascinating! i read quite a bit about the food industry, but this film puts a lot of information in a concise format.
a fun fashion doc is "the september issue" about vogue.
in april, there will be a film about four babies growing up in four countries around the world - called, "babies". it looks wonderful!
we also have a love for obscure films that are thought-provoking... "dogville" and "manderlay" are curious and interesting!

olivia rae said...

food inc is amazing!! if you're interested in the subject you should read jonathan safran foer's book, "eating animals." it's a great read and so insightful! xo

Lavanya said...

What fun! We had a 'film fest' at home this weekend too (3 films + 1 in the theatre..:)). And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've never actually gotten around to watching Food Inc. as I am already pretty obsessive about the kind of food I eat and don't eat..Ok, not obseesive but you get the idea..:). I should probably still see this. Most people seem to have loved it

kaileenelise said...

wow! it sounds like we need to stage some sort of online film festival! i loved reading through your reviews & everyone's comments. i'm a huge fan of documentaries, too. you should check out 'who killed the electric car?' - it's really interesting. xo

Analiese Marie said...

All, thank you for the wonderful recommendations! I really appreciate it. xo

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