Sampler Platter: Green/Health/Food Films

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In honor of Sundance Film Festivals Week—January 20th to 30th—we assembled an appetizer course of some of the most clever films ever themed around food, health and/or green living. We hope this list inspires you, especially if you missed some of these gems along the way.

On a food/art note:
Academy Award-winning Babette’s Feast (1987), Chocolat (2000), and Like Water for Chocolate (1992), are each delicious classics themed around the magical possibilities of food and how it can affect people in unusual—even transformative─ways.

Woman on Top (2000) stars Penelope Cruz as a Brazilian chef who attains fame as a cooking show star. As her culinary skills help strengthen her personally, she finds the courage to escape a bad marriage.
Tortilla Soup (2001) with Hector Elizondo shows how a Mexican-American chef uses food in an attempt to keep his family together via lavish, mandatory Sunday dinners.

On a food/health note:
Fast Food Nation (2006) is notable, as is Super Size Me (2004), Morgan Spurlock’s account of a 30-day experiment of eating exclusively McDonald’s meals. Spurlock’s depiction of his resulting 25-pound weight gain speaks volumes about the role of fast food in America’s obesity epidemic.

All Jacked Up (2008) exposes the truth behind the junk/processed food industry and its effect on our children. The film offers valuable insights into the often stealthy marketing practices of large food corporations to profit from products that promote obesity and diabetes.

Academy award-nominee Food, Inc. (2008)—narrated by food movement superstars Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser—exposes the problems with our industrial food system. The film breaks new ground even for those familiar with these issues.

On a green note:
The Sundance Film Festival has long been a celebrated venue for environmental films—thanks to Sundance founder Robert Redford’s green sensibilities. An Inconvenient Truth (2006), The Cove (2009), and Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) all attracted Sundance attention before circulating through America.

Others include:
Gasland (2010) explains the practice of hydrofracking, which involves injecting toxic chemicals into the ground—often near drinking-water sources—to force natural gas to the surface. Learn how the average American is besieged by toxic water/air contamination while corporations quietly accumulate billions.

Climate Refugees (2010) details the impact that a billion humans displaced by climate change will have on global security, inviting even the most fervent climate deniers to reconsider their positions. Prepare for grim experiences like the ones expected to be triggered by global warming.

Whether you’re interested in cuisine, health or planetary healing, these options should provide some interesting—and provocative—food for thought.

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