Imagine, if you will, dump trucks in Vienna that are full of day old or two day old bread that are being trucked around to dump sites in the city. Judging by one of the most haunting shots in the documentary “We Feed The World” where we see an entire dump site filled with fresh bread, there is enough dumped bread to feed a small city…and how about one of the impoverished countries while we’re at it?The facts are in: we are overproducing food. Just like how in the brilliant documentary “The Corporation” we were shown how dairy companies in the United States are overproducing milk to a gross extent even though the cows are being given a growth hormone (RBGH), “World” focuses on the planet’s problems with globalization and producing fast, cheap food for quick profits.
The film takes the journey all over Europe as we see one aspect of food production move along to another, and how big corporations and huge demand create horrendous problems for those involved in production.
What surprised me is how director Erwin Wagenhofer doesn’t resort to too much narration or talking heads to tell the story. Quick on-screen titles or clips of Jean Ziegler, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food discussing the problems with global food production are on screen, but most of the images are silent or interview subjects talking directly to the camera. There’s very little preaching here, just a lot of powerful show and tell.
The “climax” of the documentary involves the entire 8 week process of creating those chicken breasts that we all love to buy in the store, from the farming of the eggs, the transport and raising of the eggs (unnaturally) and the quick slaughter of the chicken. Slow, long-takes are shown as one chicken after another is feed into respective machines, and it will make you think twice about that next McChicken sandwich at McDonalds.The film’s final images rest on the Executive Director of Nestle, who believes that there are no problems in the world, machines are taking care of the laborious jobs and everyone loves to buy his products. And why should he care? He’s got a nice life.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Portland Film Festival For more in the 2006 Portland Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Vancouver Film Festival For more in the 2006 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.