Thursday, December 25, 2008
A Snack for Thought: Our Daily Bread
Alternately haunting and beautiful (windmills against a blue sky, a field of Van Gogh picturesque flowers), disturbingly horrific (squealing pigs being strung up for slaughter, a calf being ripped from its mother’s side) and downright bizarre (baby chicks chirping as they shoot out of a conveyor belt like kernels of popcorn) Our Daily Bread is a speechless 92 minutes of daily life disconnected from any recognizable reality, a poetic visualization of an Orwellian nightmare come true. For what makes Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s film absolutely terrifying is that though it resembles some futuristic sci-fi fantasy, it’s actually a documentary – a cold hard look at today’s factory farming and industrial food production told solely through mesmerizing, William Eggleston-like images, sans emotional talking heads or soothing score. If ever there was a companion piece to Michael Pollan’s bestselling The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and a sound reason to grow organic and buy local, “Our Daily Bread” is it. And perhaps most astonishingly, Geyrhalter’s doc explores the very dehumanization of mankind through mechanization with extraordinary subtlety, without uttering a single word.