Our Daily Bread

"Excellent"

Our Daily Bread Review


Undoubtedly a forerunner for American Vegan, Veg News, and PETA's best film of the year award, Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Our Daily Bread has a radical premise with a bounty of peculiar connotations to it.

Starting in 2003, Geyrhalter spent a solid two years filming various harvesting spaces and meat plants, often creating still compositions of plant workers at their daily grind. The film has no real structuring decoy nor does it boast any interviews; the entire film is a succession of these ascetic workspaces alive with the rather dispassionate work of a modern laborer of the food industry.

What might sound sanitizing and horrendously tiresome actually turns out to be a galvanic and striking work of imagery over context. Geyrhalter doesn't just go into the horrors of how the pigs, cows, and chickens are slowly prepared for slaughter; equal time is given to tomato, apple, and lettuce farmers, along with a mystical set of shots from a work day in a sugar factory. All the plants are located in Europe, which might be why Geyrhalter was given such unprecedented access to the plants.

The near-silence from most of the workers gives more room for the churning sound of machinery and animal movements, polarizing the viewer from the human element of the process. When we do see the workers, it is often on a break, slowly masticating on a sandwich or gently talking with family. Where Richard Linklater's recent translation of Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation struggled to fit the industry and its societal impacts into a humane construct, Our Daily Bread seems more at-home with the direct approach. With the absence of narration or of any real contact with the subjects, the audience is handed the task of understanding the industry simply as it is, although its ideological drift can be determined without much thought.

Through watching the pigs, chickens, and cows being born, tagged, and eventually killed and chopped up, the presentation of life ending in rather blunt, brutal ways is up front. This doesn't turn the film into a pro-vegan propaganda march, however; in fact, the film seems much more interested in the way that the animals are brought up. There's symmetry to slowly showing how these animals are born into a life that is merely a preparation of death that can only be described as spellbinding. Equally transfixing are the shots of these hollowed, open rooms that give off a sort of futuristic sheen of automaton life. A long shot of a crop-dusting facility at night, radiating a red-orange glow, gives off an intoxicating aura.

Pumped full of God-knows-what and hooked up to whirling, clanking machinery that would look more at home in a Gilliam movie, the calm of the mulling pre-carcasses of the pigs has a strange poetry to it. The cows are another story: One of the cows accepts the worker's small bolt shot to the head while the other shakes and moves until he finally accepts his fate. If anything, Our Daily Bread seems to be stunned by the alienation that the workers, settings and, indeed, the products exist in. That's not to stay that scenes of cow and pig guts being spilled out are not also effective. Yeah, I think I'll have the salad, waiter.

Aka Unser täglich Brot.



Our Daily Bread

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st April 2006

Distributed by: Vineyard Distribution

Production compaines: Filmless Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 32 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Producer: Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.