Release date:November 24, 2006
Studio:First Run/Icarus Films
Screenwriters:Wolfgang Widerhofer, Nikolaus Geyrhalter
In sealed rooms, as sterile as computer microprocessor factories, chicks hatch while being closely monitored. A huge hose sucks salmon out of a fjord. Metal teeth chomp up fields of sunflowers. On mechanized conveyer systems, chickens are cut up and pigs are gutted in seconds, although cows take a little longer. In a series of visually stunning, continuously tracking, wide-screen images that seem right out of a science-fiction movie, "Our Daily Bread" shows us where food is cultivated and processed: surreal landscapes optimized for agricultural machinery, clean rooms in cool industrial buildings designed for maximum efficiency, and elaborate machines that operate on a 'disassembly line' basis. There's little space for humans here. They almost seem like flaws in this system: undersized and vulnerable, though they adapt as best they can, with chemical suits, respirators, ear protectors, and helmets. They do the jobs for which machines have not yet been invented. Dispensing entirely with explanatory commentary or 'talking-head' interviews, "Our Daily Bread" unfolds on the screen like a disturbing dream: an endlessly fascinating flow of images, an insistent gaze, accompanied only by the persistent industrial soundtrack—whirring, clattering, booming, slurping—of the ingenious marvels of mechanization employed by agri-business. While this remarkable documentary will engender fascination, awe and even shock amongst viewers, "Our Daily Bread" simply aims to show the industrial production of food as a reflection of our society's values: plenty of everything, made as quickly and as efficiently as modern technology permits.