Red Obsession

You know what makes for really exciting cinema? Agriculture. I kid you not. Two of the best documentaries at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival prove it, and a third film does the same for commercial fishing. You’re shaking your head, I can tell, but some of the most intriguing cinema of the year so far is overflowing with reindeer, herring and wine. We’ve had a miniature renaissance recently in a genre I would call “Agrarian Minimalism.” Films like Le Quattro Volte, Bestiaire, Sweetgrass and Leviathan take humans almost completely out of the picture. They remain about the relationship between the environment and humanity, but they get there with a silent emphasis on the former. Tribeca films Red Obsession, Raw Herring and Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys move the focus back toward our end of things, balancing a cinematic eye for the beauty of the natural world with an incisive and observant understanding of how these varied food sources anchor or unsettle local communities. The flashiest is Red Obsession, an Australian documentary (narrated by Russell Crowe) about the rapidly fluctuating wine market and its impact on the historic chateaux of Bordeaux. For hundreds of years these vineyards have perfected the art of viticulture, no more famously than the five “Premier Grand Cru” chateaux: Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion and Mouton-Rothschild. In 2009 they had perhaps their best year ever, a happy accident of the weather. Prices shot up so high that the entire wine world had to re-calibrate its priorities. […]

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published: 04.18.2014
published: 04.18.2014
published: 04.18.2014
published: 04.18.2014

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