Food on Film

Close and strong links exist between the cinema and food, with gastronomy often portrayed through film, documentaries and other audiovisual means. Two forthcoming events, organized in collaboration with Slow Food, focus on bringing critical awareness to this medium and highlighting the multifaceted issues around food and agriculture.

Held over February 7 – 17, Germany’s prestigious Berlin International Film Festival includes a special Culinary Cinema program presenting a series of events connecting food films with gastronomic happenings and discussions. Among these, Slow Food president Carlo Petrini will participate in a public dialogue with the famous Catalan chef Ferran Adria on “The Future of Food”. Petrini will also present Gut, Sauber und Fair, the German edition of the his book Good, Clean and Fair, and introduce the short documentary One Day at Eataly together with renowned cinematography director Michael Ballhaus – who produced the film with students from the University of Gastronomic Science in Italy.

Slow Food on Film, to be held May 7 – 11 this year in Bologna, Italy, is an international festival of cinema and food promoted by the Slow Food movement, Cineteca di Bologna and the City of Bologna. The event promotes a new critical awareness of food culture through films, shorts, documentaries and TV series that present original perspectives on food, the problems of agriculture and food memories as a heritage to be defended.

Films have been addressing these issues for sometime and on occasion, as the following two documentaries from 2007 illustrate, take products and producers as their key focus.

Semillas sagradas, by Andrea Mendez Brandam, Juan Nicolas Broens and Maria Teresa Morresi is a journey through through Quebrada de Humahuaca, a wide valley in northeastern Argentina. The film portrays a people who recognize and are recovering the most valuable thing the earth can offer: seeds, the custodians of biodiversity and future food sovereignty.

M. Bené goes to Italy, by Manuel Lampreia Carvalho (to be screened at the Berlinale festival), describes the life of Benedito Batista da Silva – a 60-year-old, Brazilian producer of manioc flour from the Amazon region – and his experiences during Terra Madre 2006.

Productions such as these are inspired by the exemplary efforts of those who are persistent in striving to ensure the survival and recognition of plants, animal species and traditional agricultural methods in their homelands.

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