Los Angeles

Starting Today: Our Daily Bread

ourdailybread.jpgBeginning with a screening today and continuing through late March, the American Cinematheque is presenting Our Daily Bread.

As noted in Manohla Dargis’s review in The New York Times:

Late in his indispensable book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” Michael Pollan suggests that one way to change America’s lamentable eating habits is to build slaughterhouses and egg factories with glass walls. “If there’s any new right we need to establish,” he writes, “maybe this is the one: The right, I mean, to look.”

Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter and filmed in several locations throughout Europe, Our Daily Bread does just that. It gives us a look into the places where much of our daily food is produced: amidst surreal landscapes plasticized and optimized for tractors and agricultural machinery, in clean rooms in cool industrial buildings designed to ensure logistic efficiency, and by machines that require uniform materials for smooth processing. Our Daily Bread shows the industrial production of food as a reflection of our society’s values: plenty of everything, made quickly and simply by a specialized few.

Without commentary or explanatory interviews the film unfolds on the screen like a disturbing dream. It’s a detailed feast of images, an insistent gaze, accompanied only by the whirring, clattering, booming, and slurping of machinery. The film’s duration is 92 minutes. It was originally released in 2005 (First Run/Icarus Films).

Where: Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Avenue (at 14th Street), Santa Monica
When: Several dates, beginning today:
Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 7:30pm
Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 5:00pm
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 4, 2007 at 5:00pm
Sunday, March 11, 2007 at 5:00pm
Sunday, March 18, 2007 at 5:00pm
Sunday, March 25, 2007 at 5:00pm
Cost: Price varies depending on your status (general, student, senior, American Cinematheque member). Tickets are available at the Aero box office and via Fandango.com. Note that Slow Food members and friends can receive $1.00 off their ticket price when purchased at the Aero box office by showing your Slow Food membership card or noting that you learned of these screenings via Slow Food.

Critics around the country have been raving about the film:
“Superb! The film’s formal elegance, moral underpinning and intellectually stimulating point of view also make it essential. Takes us inside worlds of wonder and of terror.” — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times [full review here]
“Devastating! A Must-See!” —The New York Times
“Outstanding! Provocative! Eccentrically lovely and frequently horrifying.” —Premiere
“The ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ of modern food production.” –Stuart Klawans, The Nation
“An invigoratingly subtle form of political cinema.” –Richard Porton, Cinema Scope

Update, 2:56pm: Also note the review by Kenneth Turan in today’s Los Angeles Times, available here.