Friday, May 11, 2007

Nikolaus Geyrhalter's, "Our Daily Bread"

By chance I came across a postcard for Nikolaus Geyrhalter's, OUR DAILY BREAD, which I saw a year ago at the LA Film Fest. Don't know what happened, but for whatever reason I didn't write about it. Anyway, I highly recommend this flick.

A digression - I stopped reading fiction over ten years ago. I made one exception about three years ago when I re-visited Ellison, but that was it. Rather than go on some moralistic high-horse blathering about non-fiction versus fiction, I'll just say that I don't read fiction anymore and leave it at that but with this; I think there's plenty of dumb or over-rated and marketing hyped non-fiction shit. "Tipping Point" and "Freakonomics" lead the current crop. I say this about my reading proclivity because I find this disdain for reading fiction bleeding over into my movie viewing. 

Geyrhalter was the cinematographer as well as director, and he's got a keen eye. His most obvious influence is expressed in his Kubrick-ian symmetrical compositions...

But Geyrhalter has a great compositional eye, period...

The movie deals with agri-biz's approach to food mass-production and uses it as a touchstone for the viewer to launch into an inquiry about the modern world. In this way, it's like what the late, great Tati did with films like Playtime.  The "Kubrick-ian gaze" extends beyond the visual; it infuses the feeling of the flick, and it works. It's not the hit you over-the-head moralizing that the majority of filmmakers would fall into. And it's not the full of crap "Look, I'm a great artist" stuff that Fred Wiseman does. Instead, ODB (no, not Wu Tang) is shot through with integrity and tempered by a keen aesthetic sensibility - and that's a top-notch combo.

There's not an ounce of dialog as I recall, but it's easily one of the best flicks I've seen in the past two years. This guy's one to watch for.