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Our Daily Bread

By Caroline Planque
Posted February 22, 2007

    In this minimalist and striking documentary, Austrian filmmaker Niklaus Geyrhalter opens our eyes to how alienated we have become from the food we consume on a daily basis. As he tours European food-production facilities, Geyrhalter shows us a wide range of tableaus illustrating different stages of the industrial animal and vegetal food processing: from chicks to cows, pigs and fish, and from tomatoes to sunflowers and wheat. The images suffice of themselves and are not accompanied by any voice-over or comment, but only by the sounds of the conveyor-belts or harvesting machines. In this highly controlled environment, the organic and natural quality of life itself is denied in the name of productivity and profit. Animals are bred in a completely artificial manner and harvested on the simple push of a button. Chicken, for instance, are vacuumed by the thousands when time comes to head to the slaughterhouse.

    Human beings are strangely absent, or at least very removed from this man-made world of steel. They only remain in the production chain where no machine has yet been invented to replace them. But they seem to have become machines themselves and seem completely oblivious to the horrendous process happening in front of their own eyes. When they finally go on their lunch break, it is to enjoy the very same food that was lined up in front of them just minutes earlier.  

    Not to be missed, Our Daily Bread will make you want to grow your own garden or at least strongly reconsider what you put in your shopping cart at the supermarket.


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