Forget the big-budget, big-studio special effects arms race. Our Daily Bread is perhaps the most unexpectedly, authentically awe-inspiring film of the year.
Bread (in theaters, in rolling release, starting 11/24) is a mesmerizing, nearly wordless 92-minute documentary portrait of how the food you eat every day is made.
One minute you’re in a vast, eerily lit, otherworldly cavern (gradually you realize it’s a salt mine); the next you’re strolling alongside a tomato picker in a greenhouse that seems to stretch into infinity; the next you’re beside a Rube Goldbergian contraption that’s sorting thousands of live baby chicks with the impersonal grace and urgency of a tennis ball machine. (There are barely any human workers populating these ultra-automated tableaux.)
Some of it is, yes, disturbing — we almost wish we hadn’t seen how bacon is made. Some of it is wide-screen wondrous.
But ultimately Bread is an eye-opener, showing us that even if we think we’re being smart about food — watching the Food Network and shopping at neo-nice chain grocers such as Whole Foods — we don’t know the half of it.
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