Our Daily Bread is one of the most abstract audio/visual films I’ve seen to date and yet it ones of the most relevant of them all. Taking a no holds barred look inside mass production farming and food processing, it will be for some viewers actually too much to watch.
Starting off with vegetable and fruit farming, locked off or transportable but always facing forward cameras follow around various workers through their day to day work. As the films progresses it gradually exposes you to some of the more bloody and gruesome workings of food production, saving the fish and cow production line to the very end which is where in the last ten minutes, the most shocking and controversial material is. However it does raise important questions just by watching the movie. If you can’t actually watch the film and understand the workings behind it because the reality of what we eat is setting in, can you really go on eating meat? I ask this because so many conversations afterwards are “how can we eat meat” afterwards. I wonder how many of them have then actually became strict vegans afterwards. The fact of the matter is this is exactly what happens down the last detail. We need to use this film as an educational one to show the process and also as a thank you to those people who do this for us everyday. If you were the last one alive on an island and had no other food source, you’d probably have to do this to survive yourself.
In terms of the actual sound of the film, there is no music or backing track at all. It’s just mechanical noise from all the machinary. That in itself is an inspired decision. The camerashots themselves are interesting too . Some of the production line angels are artistic and slightly surreal while others, such as the chick and hen sections show more the scale of the operation.
However it’s not all wonderous. For all the word about controversy, I was expecting something actually a lot worse – I’m not sure what I was expecting – but this was within the range of expectation for me. Some of the vegetable and fruit sections are actually a bit dull when you return to the same greenhouse a few times too as the shots there are straightforward and lack imagination.
Overall though, Our Daily Bread is educational, eye opening and for some unnerving. A great example of how opening up a hidden world makes for better understanding all round.