One of my goals for 2012 was to use the word “zeitgeist” in a sentence (which I’ve just done). Having watched a documentary film called “Ingredients,” then realizing that there have literally been dozens of films about food in the last few years I realize that the national zeitgeist is changing.
Ingredients isn’t the best food movie I’ve watched but it’s interesting because a lot of it is filmed in Oregon. It’s all about local food and how chefs at higher end restaurants are concentrating on high quality ingredients. It’s nicely done and makes the point that we should be in closer touch with our food supplies.
Once you begin exploring the available documentaries you will discover that you could spend several weeks watching docs about food:
Food Matters (2008) takes a hard-hitting look at what we eat and how it affects our health and what we can do to eat better.
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (2010) in which two men whose bodies have been trashed pursue a rigorous healing path to regain their health.
Forks Over Knives (2011) Two scientist report on how processed foods have led to epidemic rates of obesity diabetes and other diseases.
Deconstructing Supper (2002) A chef travels the world in an exploration of genetically modified crops.
What’s On Your Plate (2009) A filmmaker follows her daughter and another eleven year old as they spend a year investigating the politics of food in America.
Food Beware (2009) Documentarian visits a village in France where the mayor has decreed an organic menu for the lunch program of the local school.
Broken Limbs (2004) An exploration of efforts by small orchardists and farmers to compete with the big boys.
The Future of Food (2004) Examines the effects of biotechnology on small farmers revealing unappetizing facts about GMO.
King Corn (2007) Two friends grow an acre of corn and and follow it into the food supply.
Bananas (2009) Nicaraguan laborers are paying a high price to get cheap bananas onto the world’s tables. A Southern California personal injury lawyer decides to do something about it.
Dirt The Movie (2009) Diverse groups of people unite to save the natural resource.
Food Fight (2008) Profiles chef Alice Water’s efforts to promote local, sustainable food. Ms Waters is also featured in Ingredients.
Supersize Me (2004) One of the first and most effect food films which not enough people saw as McDonald’s, which nearly killed the filmmaker after he ate every meal there for a long period of time, is still going strong.
The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2006) An entertaining biopic of an interesting guy, one of the early developers of CSA.
Food Stamped: A Film for Our Times (2010) Everything you want to know about food stamps including the answer to this question: “Is it possible to eat a healthy diet on food stamps?”
Food, Inc (2008) The rock stars of the alternative food movement, Michael Pollen and Eric Schlosser weigh in.
Fresh (2008) Fresh thinking from food activist Will Allen and sustainable farmer Joel Salatin.
A Shout Out For the Garden (2009) The story of the trials and tribulations of an urban garden.
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil (2008). The title says it all.
Our Daily Bread (2005) Industrialized agriculture in Europe filmed without narration.
The Gleaners and I (2001) Food going to waste. A nicely done film.
Most of these are available on Netflix, some are available for streaming from their websites. All have something to tell us about how our consciousness might be changing.