The film Eating Animals opens this Friday at the Angelika Film Center Plano and will be screened in a free showing at Dallas’ West Village Magnolia Landmark Theater on Sunday, followed by a reception with the director.
I remember my first memories of cows being associated with the small, clean, white-ceramic world of a farmstead cheesemaking room in a village in France. There was a bend in the river nearby, a half-ruined castle, fields of grain, and blackberry brambles I braved with small, thorn-pricked fingers to make jam.
These are not the cows featured in the documentary by director Christopher Quinn, produced and narrated by Natalie Portman, a film that explores and exposes the practices of the commercial meat industry’s factory-farming model of livestock production. The film, based on the 2009 book of the same title by Jonathan Safran Foer, pulls back the curtain on the polluting and egregiously unsustainable and inhumane machinery behind meat, dairy, and eggs. In contrast to the reality of mass-production and confinement, the film gives voice to old-fashioned turkey farmers and others fighting to promote a more environmentally conscious way. The California chef Alice Waters has said the movie took her breath away. The still (above) steals mine.
The film has precedents in recent years and belongs to a small cadre of films that investigate our farming, animal husbandry, and eating practices (Food, Inc., Cowspiracy, and What the Health).
The special screening on Sunday is a collaboration between Sundance Selects, EJF Philanthropies, EarthxFilm, and the Dallas Film Society. Click here to reserve a seat for the 4 p.m. showing.
Directed and produced by Christopher Quinn (Sundance award winner God Grew Tired of Us), Eating Animals tells the story of the beginning of the end of factory farming. Produced with Academy Award winner Natalie Portman and Jonathan Safran Foer, the film is the feature-length adaptation of Foer’s critically acclaimed book of the same name that starts out with a simple question — where do our eggs, dairy and meat come from? Through the intimate narratives of several farmers dedicated to bringing their trade – and the way we eat – back to its roots, the film explores the notion of stepping away from the practices of the past 40 years that have polluted our environment, endangered our health, and caused us all to be complicit in the inhumane treatment of animals. Looking at the costs we’ve incurred as our country has become dominated by massive industrial complexes designed to feed the masses, Eating Animals paints a picture of a future where traditional farming is no longer a distant memory, but is instead the only way forward.
DIRECTED BY: Christopher Quinn
PRODUCED BY: Natalie Portman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Christopher Quinn
CAST: Natalie Portman (narrator)
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
MPAA RATING: NR