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BG24 Newscast
April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

Food is no stranger to film

While in prison, Paulie slices garlic with a razor blade while the other guys stir a stock pot of bubbling tomato sauce, slice a loaf of Italian bread, put the lobster on ice and uncork a bottle of good Italian wine.

I’m a sucker for this scene from “Goodfellas.” I freely admit that whenever I’m channel surfing and stumble upon this gangster flick, I tune in every time just to see the stringy pizzas, the glistening angel hair pasta and the mile-high deli sandwiches.

Food is no stranger to film. Often it is an under-valued supporting actor who actually makes a scene meaningful. Consider the Royale with Cheese in “Pulp Fiction” or the awkwardness of the brown bag lunch scene in “The Breakfast Club.”

Sometimes food even finds itself in the leading role, especially in documentaries.

Cynthia Baron, associate professor in the department of theatre and film, said most of the new and interesting food films are food documentaries.

“The reason for this boom in food docs is people are very interested in getting good information about the food system and what they eat,” Baron said.

The critically acclaimed and widely popular “Food, Inc.” turned quite a few stomachs as it investigated the industrial food system.

Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis drive to Iowa in “King Corn” in an attempt to grow one acre of corn and track how it’s processed and produced for consumption (or not). Recently the duo released a new film entitled “Truck Farm,” which documents the pair bringing rural gardens to urban folks in the bed of a truck. One of the newest additions to the journalistic food documentary genre is “Forks Over Knives,” a science-based film that urges plant-based diets to battle heart disease, strokes and cancer.

As public interest in food and food-related issues continues to grow, so does the popularity of independent food documentaries and short films about food. Indie art houses, such as Cedar Lee in Cleveland and The Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, support these films that might not otherwise see the big screen.

Also, film festivals, such as the NYC Food Film Festival and the Chicago Food Film Festival, specially showcase films about food. In fact, at the 2010 Cleveland International Film Festival there was a division dedicated to this growing genre. Films like “Ingredients,” “Mid-August Lunch” and “What’s On Your Plate?” were featured to show how Americans and the international community are documenting our food choices and histories.

Even from the comfort of your own home, you can watch Southern Foodways Alliance’s “oeuvre of films” online. “Smoke and Ears” and “Buttermilk: It Can Help” are worth a viewing as both support awareness of the South’s local food movement.

The mainstream film industry has jumped on the food bandwagon too. Pixar’s “Ratatouille” to this day remains one of my all-time favorite movies. The scene in which pretentious food critic Anton Ego is brought to tears because of Remy and Colette’s ratatouille (it reminds him of his childhood in France and his mother’s home cooking) practically brings me to tears every time.

It’s not a far stretch to assume that the food in the much-anticipated release of “The Hunger Games” will look even more delicious and life-like on the big screen than Suzanne Collin’s detailed descriptions in the book.

Food, through its intricate connection to our lives, makes a perfect star on camera. It’s as diverse in its roles and genres as it is in its daily cuisines. And with the countless aspects of food that can be explored, I have no doubt it will continue to be a long-lasting star in the film industry.

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