Our Daily Bread

2005 [GERMAN]

Action / Documentary

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh94%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright84%
IMDb Rating7.6102615

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
841.75 MB
German 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 32 min
P/S ...
1.56 GB
German 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 32 min
P/S 2 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by 9acro8 / 10

What do you want to eat today?

Don't watch this movie if you have bad stomach or you won't be able to eat for a while. It shows quite a bit of shocking footage of modern food processing facilities. Dehumanization of food processing is well shown by creative camera placement. Camera placement resembles Kubrick's in some scenes - scenes of machines and people moving through corridors. Some of machines and procedures shown in the movie are really shocking. Movie doesn't have any narration, only sounds that you hear are sounds of the environment. A bit of well picked music would make this movie even better. If you want to know how the food you eat comes to your table this is the movie to watch.

Reviewed by Horst_In_Translation8 / 10

Their daily death

"Our Daily Bread" is an Austrian documentary movie from 10 years ago. The director is Nikolaus Geyrhalter and he also came up with the script together with Wolfgang Widerhofer. Both are truly prolific filmmakers and also worked together on other projects such as "Abendland". Their work here can actually be summarized pretty quickly. It is basically a making-of documentary of the food industry. There are parts about plants included and how they are processed, but the really crucial part here are the segments about cattle, which includes cows, chicken and pigs.

If you are interested in watching this, you probably have heard about "Earthlings", the American documentary that came out the very same year. There are some parallels, but there are also differences. One crucial differences is for example that Geyrhalter only included static camera shots here and also only recordings that he made himself. But the biggest difference is probably that there is no narration in this movie here. There are also no dialogs. Well.. there is some talking, but it's really irrelevant and adds nothing to the film in the sense of people being recorded during breakfast (eating meat). And there are no interviews in here. It is almost a silent movie and that is certainly not something for everybody, even if they are interested in the topic. All this is actually a reason why this documentary is so well-known, also outside German-speaking regions. You can easily watch this without being able to speak a single word German. But be ready to see some heartbreaking action if you feel with animals.

I personally am a vegetarian and if I wasn't one already, I'd probably be one after watching this movie. I also wonder how people are able to work in professions such as the ones depicted in here. The entire cast list are people who work on crop fields or slaughterhouses. They must not only do not be religious at all, but also perceive these creatures as things in order to be able to deal with what they are doing on a daily basis. I could never do that. Thank God I don't have to. Excellent documentary. One of the best of the year.

Reviewed by Chris Knipp6 / 10

Artistic documentary: does it work?

Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Our Daily Bread is more like a conceptual art piece than the usual documentary film. It consists of 92 minutes of filmed images of European food industry workers, most of them doing their jobs, and some of them having their lunches. There are no verbal guidelines provided; there is no identification of the industry or the location, no statistics or other information about the work being done. This includes chickens, cows, pigs, cattle, and fish, everything from breeding to slaughtering, as well as workers spraying crops, picking fruit and vegetables, and so on. The 35 mm. hi def images are handsome, bright, and clear, with excellent color. In a neutral sort of way, you could say they are "pretty." The result is a kind of numbing, disturbing visual wallpaper. Geyrhalter has produced an artifact as cold and as inhuman as the processes he has filmed. That's why this reads like a conceptual piece that might be shown in the room of a museum as part of an exhibition, rather than in a movie theater.

All these images are from large scale production. There are no small farmers represented. When an animal is killed, the chances are hundreds of them are being killed. Baby chicks are shunted around on conveyor belts, into boxes, sorted by hand, and sent into other conveyor belts, like inanimate objects. Cattle and pigs are shunted along in mechanical conveyors to slaughter and taken apart afterwards with machinery, while workers also repeat monotonous gestures. It isn't made clear whether it is the actions or their scale that are to be noted, and presumably objected to. (Is it bad to raise animals for food? Or at least much more wrong to do that on a huge industrial scale?) There is an obvious irony in the contrast between the worker's little sandwiches consumed staring into space and the vast quantities of future edibles they contribute to the preparation of. But actually the images here are at the raw end of food preparation. There is no cooking, canning, or bottling. And Our Daily Bread doesn't show the baking of bread, either on a small level or a large one.

An Amsterdam Film Festival award jury described these scenes in its citation as "a powerful cinematic experience! A series of shocking and indelible images...unremittingly merciless and nightmarish....A vision of Hell. Not the Hell of our theologians but one constructed by our politics, our markets and our food technologies. This is a great and important film and we are delighted to honor it with the Special Jury Award." Yes, this is a remarkable film, exhaustive and exhausting in its methods and effect and appropriate for inclusion in a film festival where work that pushes the envelope are going to be sought out. The New York Film Festival's emphasis on high artistic merit and originality justifies the inclusion of Our Daily Bread as one of its 28 official selections. However, one may wonder if a "documentary" that reads more as an art piece than as instruction can really be effective as polemic or information. And yet it would appear that polemic and information are Geyrhalter's interests here.

It's true that some documentaries "work" brilliantly without voice-over commentaries. The French To Be and to Have, which describes a year in the life of a rural schoolteacher, is deeply affecting without a word of interjected commentary. But when we are in the world of public social issues, or matters for concern and debate, it is more usual for the filmmaker to inject words into the debate. Examples of that kind of documentary are Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 or the more recent global warming film featuring Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth. Our Daily Bread doesn't contain a word of commentary. And for the English-language viewer, none of the occasional lunchtime workers' conversations is translated.

Consequently it seems that this kind of film is unlikely to reach a wide audience. But isn't reaching and influencing a wide audience just what this kind of committed film-making is about? In situations like this, Geyrhalter is right in saying that it may not matter whether the food factory is in Austria, Spain, or Poland, "or how many pigs are processed every year in the big slaughterhouse that's shown." Except that it does matter. Because it is the scale that makes the world of industrial food production and high-tech farming inhuman and inhumane and disturbing. Do you want to become a vegetarian? What we see done to plants isn't very pretty either. All these events and actions take on a different cast if seen within a small scale, done for local use.

There is no objection to the images Geyrhalter has assembled. They deserve to be seen and thought about. They are important. And this relentless presentation of them, without words and without commentary or verbal information, does leave an impression. But an example of a better treatment of this kind of subject matter for the general public is Deborah Koons Garcia's 2005 The Future of Food, which focuses on genetic manipulation and cloning and the patenting of plants and has a regular voice-over narration to tell us about the subject, as well as interviews with people whose lives have been effected by Monsanto and other corporations intervention in farming. Geyrhalter says that he and his crew did interviews, but they found that they detracted from the overall effect. We must ask what kind of effect he was trying to create, and whether documentary film-making shouldn't be focused more on informing us than on simply "affecting" us. It is important to be "affected," but we also need to know what is going on, why it is going on, and what we might do about it, other than feel depressed and numbed.

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