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A lot to digest at the Berlinale film festival

February 18, 2009 |  8:46 am


The 59th incarnation of the Berlinale film festival was the usual teeming salmagundi of preening celebs, caterwauling paparazzi and geekily bespectacled industry hangers-on conspicuously toting red Berlinale swag bags. But in Kulinarisches Kino, a little adjunct to the festival, a lineup of nine food-themed films took on the mission of exploring the increasing disconnect between ourselves and the source of our food.

The sold-out European premiere of “Food, Inc.,” directed by Los Angeles’ Robert Kenner, opened the sub-program in a 1,895-seat amphitheater that made the graphic, secretly shot scenes in stockyards and poultry packing plants reverberate all the more. (The film will be released stateside in June.)

After the movie, a panel discussion brought together pithy journalists Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser (who appear in the movie); passionately gesticulating Slow Food Movement founder Carlo Petrini; a surprisingly informed Gael García Bernal, the Mexican actor; and assorted German food spokespeople such as former agricultural minister Renate Künast, an organic farmer and a muted, pitiable executive of agribusiness giant Syngenta, who squirmed as the panelists lambasted his role....

Read more here.

Photo: Actress Michelle Pfeiffer walks the red carpet. Credit: Eckehard Schulz / Associated Press