THE FUTURE OF FOOD (Deborah Koons Garcia) Rating: NNNN
CHINA RISES: FOOD IS HEAVEN (Susan Teskey and Gert Anhalt) Rating: NNN
Between noshes at this weekend's Hot & Spicy Food Festival, you might want to take a break with a movie at Harbourfront's Studio Theatre.
If they serve popcorn, be sure to ask what's in it. One film that will change the way you shop and eat is Deborah Koons Garcia's The Future Of Food, a look at the genetically modified goods that have been creeping into our supermarkets over the last decade.
Focusing mostly on the plight of the American farmer, Koons Garcia efficiently unearths some disturbing facts about these Frankenfoods and the patents on them that are making corporations rich and consumers literally sick and tired.
There's lots to chew on here, despite all the legal and scientific talk and the cheesy ominous soundtrack. Look for the infuriating sequence where the director links members of the U.S. government with GM corporation Monsanto. Or information on the U.S.-government-owned "terminator gene" that kills a crop after one harvest.
After all this upsetting information, the surprisingly hopeful ending shows alternatives to GM foods, including organic methods and community-sustained and -supported farming.
A highlight of the multi-part China Rises series that the CBC broadcast earlier this year, Food Is Heaven focuses on conditions in China, a country trying to feed its people amidst huge industrial growth.
As farmland is grabbed by factories, and those factories pollute the rivers and land, a nouveau riche segment demands fancier food and peasants scrape by on noodles.
There's a bit too much packed into the film's 45 minutes. But the filmmakers find fascinating people to draw us in, like the the homely lawyer who grew up in poverty and now represents the underprivileged, and the country kid who studied computer science but wants to become a chef.
My main beef: why is Michael Murphy, that Joe-average actor from the Woody Allen films, narrating? Were no Chinese-American or Canadian actors available?
Films screen August 11 to 13 at Harbourfront.