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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

[VIEWING] Our Daily Bread (*** 1/2)

WATCHING PROCESS PLEASES ME LIKE ALMOST NOTHING ELSE: to watch work, as I would when I worked on training films, asking someone to reassemble, then disassemble again, after taking apart a steam turbine engine. Fiction filmmaking doesn’t afford many opportunities to demonstrate work as work; watching paint being painted is not the same as watching it dry; but still, watching a writer write is not the same as what a writer feels while writing and after the task has unfurled. While Richard Linklater’s our daily bread.jpegambitious Fast Food Nation ends with a shot-in-three-days on-the-killing-floor slaughterhouse scene, reminiscent of Georges Franju’s great short documentary, Blood of Beasts, Austrian documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s Our Daily Bread (Unser täglich Brot) is another creature: deeply rooted in landscape and duration, it is hypnotic and magisterial, about moment and passage, about the industrialization of food and the necessity of nurture. Geyrhalter shot and directed, and his eye for the surreal reality of the highest tech of industrial farming monumental and surreal, wordless, a collation of clean, bright images of supernal calm and the most striking cropduster scene since North by Northwest. An experimental non-narrative epic, featuring rushing rivulets of peeping chicks, floating apples, tomatoes sorted by roving, unmanned machines and fish-gut sucking devices of metronomic efficiency, Our Daily Bread is a strange, lovely, and wholly disturbing look at one of the many worlds behind our accepted world. [Our Daily Bread has its American television premiere on Sundance Channel, Friday, May 18 at 12:35AM and 10:35AM, and Sunday, May 20 at 3:35PM. Clips and resources are available here.]

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch