A starter of activism? Yes, ma’am, and how would you like your polemic? Over easy? Ana Sofia Joanes’ low-fi “Fresh” pits food rebels of modest means against the vastness of the petrochemical-driven industrial-farming-based food chain and hopes to inspire a rebellion. Articulate advocate Michael Pollan is among those interviewed, warning as he does against “monocultures” in contemporary agriculture; the meat of the movie is the trio of activists whose stories rebel against the model of “profit over people.” It’s modest filmmaking with outsize ambition, not as coldly formal as Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s 2005 “Our Daily Bread,” “Fresh”‘s practical glimpses of local production make it a far friendlier pamphlet than the soul-crushing “Food, Inc.” which suggests that change is not possible. Virginia “grass farmer” Joel Salatin, who also appears in “Food, Inc.,” is just one of the kindly faces in “Fresh” who says it is possible and, as another subject puts it, all it takes is “one person at a time, one farmer, one consumer at a time.” They’re looking for transformation across the next fifty years, not just the next meal. 72m. (Ray Pride)
“Fresh” hatches Friday at Siskel. The trailer is below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.