The 2013 Italian documentary "Slow Food Story," which uber-awesome doc. film distributor Icarus Films is releasing on DVD on November 18 2014, is an ideal example of this genre in that it documents with minimal propaganda. It also benefits from both having a very charming leading man and an important subject that affects every person who consumes food.
The following trailer, courtesy of YouTube, for "Food" conveys all of the awesomeness that this review attempts to communicate. You will want to have a gelato with all the participants and to do all your shopping at a farmer's market.
Although the audience first meets "traditional and regional cuisine" advocacy pioneer Carlo "Carlin" Petrini receiving a rock star level reception at a gathering of the faithful, we soon get a relatively (pun intended) glimpse of his childhood and early political activism. Friends and family of Petrini provide the insights regarding both elements of his developmental years.
The experiences that Petrini shares with the aforementioned individuals who are exceptionally near and dear to him truly logically lead to opening what must have been a terrific cafe that serves local food.
The text on the back of the DVD cover that describes the resulting Slow Food Movement as "an international anti-fast-food resistance movement to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem" perfectly conveys the purpose and spirit of that organization. It also evokes thoughts of the farmers' markets, grocery store style co-ops, and farm food subscription services that have formed and grown in the wake of Carlini starting all this from his ruralish hometown of Bra, Italy.
The film terrifically shows how the Movement has tremendously expanded in both size and enthusiasm. Seeing local dairy and vegetable farmers and others who make their living from working the land realize that this chance to band together incredibly increases the viability of their efforts to enrich the physical and emotional health of their communities is infectious enough to make many of us want to abandon city life to run a farm in Hooterville. At the very least, you will look at your Big Mac and Dunkin Donuts pastry a little different after seeing the film.
Another development that is too awesome to not spoil is that Slow Food is also an influence behind the Eatly locations that have spread through much of Europe and hopefully will expand beyond the New York and Chicago locations in the United States. These HUGE open-formant marketplaces offer the best food that you will ever eat.
Many of the packaged foods, such as jams and dry pastas, come from Italy. The baked goods and other perishable items seem to be the products of local entities.
Personal experience requires encouraging EVERY visitor to New York City to get a sandwich at the counter-service cafe and then pick up a treat at the bakery across the aisle. They will be the best of both that you have ever eaten. (The croissants from the bakery at the other end of the facility are pretty good as well. :-))
Anyone traveling from NYC to Boston is asked to please serve as a mule in bringing a salami sandwich and hazelnut cookie with ganache back.
The bottom line regarding all of this is that watching "Food" introduces you to the very charming Petrini and documents the value of locally grown and lovingly prepared food without being at all strident or otherwise offense. Filmmaker Stefano Sardo even goes beyond this in including amusing short animated bumpers that are reminiscent of the style from "Monty Python's Flying Circus."
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Food" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.