Most of us go to the movies to escape from reality, but there are a few film buffs who go to stare reality right in the face.
Those people might like this trio of new health-related documentaries that probably rate low on the fun meter, but pack a wallop in the information department. You may want to hold the popcorn, though.
First up is "Food, Inc.," an expose of the food industry, to wit: "exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of e coli -- the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually."
In other words, give us spots on our apples, but leave us the birds and the bees. Please. This is out in L.A. on June 12.
Next comes "Under Our Skin," a film about Lyme disease. The news release describes it as "A dramatic tale of microbes, medicine and money, this eye-opening film investigates the untold story of Lyme disease, an emerging epidemic larger than AIDS." The story chronicles the history of the disease, profiles those who have it, and delves into how the healthcare system is handling it (we'll guess the filmmakers think not very well). The film debuts June 26 in Los Angeles.
Finally, there is "My Mother’s Garden," which some may have already seen, since it debuted on MSNBC a couple of weeks ago (but will likely be shown again). This recounts the story of Eugenia Lester, a 61-year-old Granada Hills woman with a hoarding disorder so massive and disruptive that it threatens her life. Lester’s daughter Cynthia captured the tale on film, revealing her mental illness as the family finds ways to deal with it.
OK, not exactly the stuff of blockbusters, but probably more intellectually enriching than, say, "Hannah Montana: The Movie."
-- Jeannine Stein
A still from the film "Under Our Skin" shows Sean Cobb tending to his wife, Mandy Hughes, during a seizure.