Reviews of Terra madre
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This film was extremely disappointing. It wasn’t a ‘documentary’ so much as a random mishmash of footage- mostly from self-important conference attendees, some from unrelated sources such as the Svalbad seed repository.
The ‘documentary’ gave no cultural or economic context, didn’t appear to have a coherent message, and then towards the end desceneded into an aesthetically pretty but informationally meaningless pastiche of wordless images.
Because there was no coherent message, watchers are left to project their own meaning onto the event, which simply allows people to reinforce whatever viewpoints they already have. The film had no persusive ability whatsoever – softhearted environmentalists and cynical capitalists alike will see the film as a justification of their existing points of view.
This was mirrored within the film itself during the farmhouse scene, when a group of supposed ‘scientists’ (in reality they are liberal arts academics plus an economist) discuss the farmer who lived there 50 years prior. With no documented evidence to rely on, they spend 15 minutes projecting their own prejudices and wishes onto a man who they never met and know absolutely nothing about.
This wasn’t a documentary about the slow food movement, about wider economic or social concerns, or even about the conference itself. It was a self-indulgent arts project, nothing more, nothing less. If it was billed as such, it would have been acceptable. But in pretending to present a greater truth, or even a factual account of reality, it fell sadly short and into the realms of pretension.