Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Food, Inc." (Documentary) (2009) - Movie Review

What is provided is what is consumed in the livelihood of the food industries we live in. When I entered the theater “Food, Inc.”, the titles were already up and the credits ran as the labels on the products available in the super market. The first credit I saw was “Photography by Richard Pearce” which prompted something that we buy the photography of the label and design than the content inside the vessel. If anything the corporations the film accuses have succeeded, it is to understand the psychology of laziness in us and working round the clock to keep us that way. “Food, Inc.” has its share of controversies and “fairness” but it shakes the bushes and the next visit to the super market will not be easy and will be a tough time finding something without corn or soybean.

A material of similar nature sprung in the “Fast Food Nation” directed by Richard Linklater from the book of the same name by Eric Schlosser who with no surprise is one of the narrators of this film. It is quite tough to be oblivious about the pretty picture of the slaughter houses. In “Food, Inc.”, the big corporations are the culprits again and how they are bigger, better and badder to do what they want. Is there a standard uniform for these corporations which comes with a tail and two horns?

Another know secret is that the fast foods are delicious, cheap and of course insanely unhealthy to the human body. It is no different from smoking a cigarette and the choice and responsibility lies in hands of the people. But the deal out here is the basic necessity than the luxury of smoking. Director Robert Kenner tells that a hard working low income family are lured by this choice. They work close to fourteen hours a day and the time they get to sleep and eat, corners their option to easy food (tasty too) available cheaply.

The condition in which chicken is manufactured would question any one who is a glutton for the meat. All the farmers have the chicken houses sheathed to not let any light. All of them are asked by the Tyson, the leading chicken product provider to keep it on the dark. One of them comes out and reveals and how systematically these beings are changed to have extra flesh takes you a step back. But if you are still not moved, then see how they move around their own craps and are thrown around. Now the sympathy for the chicken is not the intention out here but for how it goes into the bellies of the consumers causing outbreaks and even death. A two and half year old Kevin who succumbed to a bad hamburger from “Jack in the Box” is one such.

“Food, Inc.” takes to the root of this mass production, corn. Corn Syrup and Soy Bean oil have become the predominant in all the products for the humans and a main product to the cattle. Cows’ natural source of food have been altered and as the low income family get into their fast food short life span mode, these four legged creatures are forced to eat corn. The result is a fatter and more modified version. Their conditions of breeding is sickening. Clogged together and inverted to be hanged upon a conveyor belt taking them to their destiny is the convenient avoidance by most of the meat eaters.

It is not “Food, Inc.” advocates vegetarianism or vegan but says how unhealthily the food on the table are manufactured in the aim of getting profits. While it could have been a documentary cribbing and complaining than showing signs of improvements, this film takes on interesting subjects. One such is a farmer who has opted to produce naturally and has no desire to expand. He is the man understanding the philosophy of the current capitalism and corporation. He explains how his ventilated and open system of chicken farming was questioned for sanitation but ranked way beyond the regular product from the super market.

Another is Stonyfield Farms owner Gary Hirshberg and he is the one the current food industry needs. Stonyfield Farms produces organic yogurts. He looks like the man from the 60s being present in the trend of peace, love and hope. His product is available in major super markets and I am consumer of it even before seeing this film. He explains how his radical friends are terrified of his collaboration with mega corporation like Walmart. He explains how people demand the product and how marrying the system effectively is better than cornering in to a place where small difference though quintessential does not propagate. He is the man working the system but does integrity sustains with that? Time has the answer but he has so far been successful which is a hopeful sign for better future.

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