From molecular gastronomy to food for soup kitchens, and from the cooking reality shows that have flooded the small screen to the horrendous conditions under which people work so that we can enjoy a bar of chocolate, food and the importance it holds in society, the global economy and everyday life is the subject of a new section titled “Food vs Food” at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, running March 3-12.
“Documentaries on food are a particularly popular sub-category of the general documentary genre. Seeing the success of this category of films in Berlin, I thought that it was ridiculous we didn’t have something similar in Thessaloniki, especially given the city’s huge tradition in food,” says the artistic director of the parent event, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Orestis Andreadakis.
Culinary Cinema has been on the menu both at the Berlinale and the film festival at San Sebastian – the Spanish city famed for its vibrant gastro scene – for several years, while in 2010, Tokyo got the first ever cinematic event entirely dedicated to food culture in the Gohan Film Festival.
The “Food vs Food” section in Thessaloniki comprises nine documentaries that reveal both the bright and less savory sides of food. It includes, for example, a documentary titled “Ants on a Shrimp” that focuses on the soaring career of triple-Michelin-starred chef Rene Redzepi of Copenhagen’s Noma, which will be serving its last meal this month, as well as Benthe Forrer’s revealing “The Chocolate Case” on the exploitation of children at African cocoa plantations.
In a similar vein, Tom Heinemann’s “Bitter Grapes – Slavery in the Vineyards” exposes the working conditions in the South African wine industry, while David Fernandez de Castro’s “Priorat” relates the success story of a group of idealists who transformed one of the poorest parts of Catalonia, Spain, into an global wine destination.
The new trend of entomophagy – eating bugs – is also on the program, as is a documentary on the initiative launched by famed Italian chef Massimo Bottura to cook for the refugees and homeless of Milan.
There will be three Greek documentaries on food, including the first episode of “The Journey of Food – Eating in Greece from Prehistory to Modern Times,” a series of documentaries that will be broadcast by Skai TV.
Meanwhile, 20 restaurants in the northern port city will be dedicating a dish to the festival.