our daily bread (2005) – some reflections

We (at the ErdKinder environment, I mean) get (also) to ‘see’ a lot of  films and this ‘Our Daily Bread’ happened to be one of those. And,  we had some discussions centred around the film – and, had a written ‘test’ to boot, to collect the thoughts and reflections of our children. More on this, and the content of the ‘question paper’ further down this post…

For anyone who is even remotely concerned with the  food (and by extension, our dear life)  related issues that our world is facing and especially the mass production and consumption angles – this film is a heart wrenching reminder of the grim situation. The film has little commentary, anyway the moving images speak volumes and volumes – technically also, it is one of the most canonically produced pieces of cinema verite.

dvd cover / wrapper image

Now, the text of the questions that were given to our ErdKinder is given below; of course, I must also add that the children did a fabulous job of sharing their reflections, I have just finished reading them – and this good stuff can only be blamed on a good montessori environment at the school and of course the parentage of these children.  May the blames continue!

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Our Daily Bread – Unser täglich Brot (2005)
Director: Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Questions for reflection

Hope you have thought about the film, its content, and its context. You may recollect the discussions we have had, after viewing the film. May be you even discussed with some other adults about the film; in which case, it would be even easier to collect your thoughts.

Now, read the whole set of questions below, think and write your views / answers clearly and legibly. Please note that there are NO correct, black & white answers – save a few ‘factual’ questions.

You can take up to 2 hours. Blank answers will invite my wrath – you know how it is, yeah? Answers ‘for the sake of answers’ will result in a ban for three subsequent films that have been planned.

Think and then, write!
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1. Name and explain the two phrases that we used in the post-film discussion – one to describe our attitudes about non-human things and the other about this type of documentary. ( 2 sentences)
2. What is the name of the India’s biggest abattoir and where is it located? (2 sentences)
3. Would you consider the following quote from Wendell Berry (from the book ‘What Are People For?’) – a part summary of the film? Why? Why not?  “I dislike the thought that some animal has been made miserable to feed me. If I am going to eat meat, I want it to be from an animal that has lived a pleasant, uncrowded life outdoors, on bountiful pasture, with good water nearby and trees for shade.” (5 sentences)
4. In what ways a factory production mechanism makes it easy for consumers to consume food – examples of food: veggies, fruits, meat etc. (10 sentences)
5. What do you understand by the term ‘Economies of scale?’ (5 sentences)
6. You have seen quite a few documentaries. This documentary had no voice-over. Why? If some commentary were there, would it have improved our understanding? What is the point? (5 sentences)
7. How many different types of harvesters did we see in the movie? Name the contexts. Why can’t we have only one kind of harvester to do all kinds of harvesting? (5 sentences)
8. In many of the harvesting farms, we saw various kinds of labourers. What was the single most striking feature of them? Why? (4 sentences)
9. There were a few specific camera angles that were repeatedly used in the film for effect. What are those effects? Could you name any of the shoot sequences?
10. Why were there some long shots of workers eating and having their lunches – with uncomfortable close-ups? (5 sentences)
11. You may recollect the hormones that were injected in animals to make them fatter / heavier. What are the physiological & psychological repercussions for us, if we consume them. (5 sentences)
12. Why do you think the pesticide sprayers had masks on, whereas the fruit pickers had only hand gloves at best? (3 sentences)
13. Obviously a whole of lot of cleaning is being done at frequent intervals in all these farms / factories. What happens to the things that are removed thus? (5 sentences)
14. Some of us were laughing and joking about some of the scenes. What were those scenes? What do you think are the reasons for this behaviour? (10 sentences)
15. The title is taken from the Bible – ‘Give us our Daily Bread’ – now, what is the connection? (5 sentences)
16. What do you think is the main aim of the film? Do you think it comes thru’ clearly? In what ways the film can be improved, given what you think is the aim? Do you think some scenes were not required? Were some shots overdone? If you were to convey the same message, would you do it differently? Explain with details. (50 sentences)

Happy healthy food eating, and oh well, presenting your views too!

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As I said earlier, the children did very well. Now that gives me hope!

Here is the IMDB link for the film. The webpages of the film are also  very nicely done.

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Comments

  • amaresh deshpande  On March 3, 2010 at 5:31 am

    When in Kodaikanal, Namme Shaale will eat a couple of packed lunches from the town’s Daily Bread.
    This bakery is remarkable because it is rather uncommon to come across a commercial enterprise so close to being a social organization. In fact, at the end of their working day (7pm) the cross-over is clearly seen when (unsold) items are given away to whoever is around (which otherwise can easily be sold the next day). During the day too customers will be fed ad-hoc, besides what they have ordered. Beggars are loosely employed to keep the pavement clean and direct cars in and out of the busy parking area in front of the bakery. About a year or so ago, I saw a notice posted to the effect, “We are extremely sorry to inform our valued customers that due to the recent increase of commodity prices, we are forced to increase our own prices in the bakery, starting from (so and so) date. We hope you will understand.”
    Every item went up by one whole rupee.

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